TMJ Dentist & Jaw Doctor Specialist
Dealing With TMJ Complications
When it comes to chronic facial pain, such as headaches, earaches, or jaw aches, it is worth knowing that millions of American adults suffer from one or more of these afflictions.
As for the source of those aches and pains, we have found that they correlate with the TM joints (temporomandibular joints). These joints, which are located on each side of the head, work together to allow the jaw to move in different ways for speaking, chewing, and everything else.
Many people have trouble opening their jaws using these joints, which many times means that they suffer from TMJ.
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TMJ, otherwise known as temporomandibular disorder, is a wider reference to a number of conditions that impact the TM joints, facial nerves, and jaw muscles. Symptoms of TMJ may occur when people twist their jaws while opening them or move them to the side during speaking or chewing.
There are a few major symptoms that we see with patients who have TMJ and difficulty opening in St. Louis, including:
- Head and neckaches
- Jaw and jaw muscle tenderness
- Pain or soreness in the jaw during the morning or night
- Pain or soreness in the jaw while chewing or yawning
- Difficulty opening the mouth
- Clicks or pops when opening the jaw
The Causes Of TMJ
TMJ can be caused by a number of factors, though we find that the most common are:
- Jaw dislocation
- Misaligned bite
Stress can also play a huge role in TMJ. Many people find that their TMJ is aggravated after they perform physically strenuous tasks, such as heavy lifting, working out, etc. The level of pain can greatly increase when the jaw muscles are overused, especially when it comes to grinding or clenching the teeth. Bruxism, which is the formal term for the grinding of the teeth, cause increase the severity of TMJ.
Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all test to see if someone is suffering from TMJ, though it is important to find out if it is the leading factor of your aches and pains before heading into treatment.
It is quite common for people to mistake sinus problems or common toothaches as TMJ symptoms, and in many cases, psychological and behavioral factors can come together to cause TMJ as well.
Luckily, here at the Dental Anesthesia Center in St. Louis, we can usually diagnose a disorder with a simple description of the symptoms you have, as well as an initial physical examination.
We can take x-rays to see just how your bite fits together, or take specialized TM joint x-rays to look more closely at the possible underlying problem.
What To Do If You Think You Might Have TMJ
The one positive thing about TMJ is that it has the ability to go away on its own eventually. The most important thing to do if you believe you have TMJ is to practice self-care and stress management. Ridding yourself of excess stress can help you to ease TMJ symptoms overall.
Of course, you can also visit us here at the Dental Anesthesia Center to discuss the possibilities of conservative TMJ treatment.
Making Your First Appointment
It is all too often that TMJ patients avoid the dentist for fear of bringing out their pain. Unfortunately, putting your oral health on the back burner only creates a road to more pain and problems in the future.
If you’re suffering from jaw pain in some way or another, make sure that you set up an appointment with us so that we can get to the underlying cause and get you back to your normal self! We’re the only Board Certified Dental Anesthesiologists in the State of Missouri.
Call us at (314) 862-7844 to schedule your first appointment. We look forward to working with you!