Problems with your temporomandibular joints (TMJs) may cause you to experience pain and tenderness in your jaw as you chew, speak, or even yawn. The TMJ is a small joint located just in front of each ear. A healthy TMJ works fluidly, allowing the upper and lower jaws to operate in harmony; however, in approximately 15 percent of the American population, this function is impaired. The resulting pain often extends from the jaw into the ear. It may even extend down into the neck and shoulders. In extreme cases the jaw may become frozen, interfering with the ability to eat, speak, and drink. When the TMJ is not working properly, we refer to it as TMJ disorder, or TMD. Fortunately, there are a variety of TMJ disorder treatment options available at our Shreveport dental practice serving Bossier City, Minden, Stonewall, Keithville, and surrounding communities.
At Cormier Family Dentistry, we understand the effect that TMJ pain can have on a person’s quality of life. Because of this, we evaluate each of our patients for early indications of the disorder to help prevent it from developing into a more painful condition. During your regular appointments we will assess for jaw clicking, misalignment of teeth, and other indications of disorder within your TMJs.
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms associated with TMJ disorder, such as clicking of the jaw or jaw, neck, or ear pain, please contact Cormier Family Dentistry to schedule your initial consultation with one of our experienced dentists today.
What causes TMJ disorder?
Sometimes TMJ disorder is caused by arthritis, jaw misalignment, or even traumatic injury. However, one of the predominant causes is stress. Many people develop bruxism (chronic teeth grinding) as a result of stress. This grinding places excessive stress and pressure on the joint causing TMJ disorder to develop. This sort of pressure may also result from increased physical stress, such as that associated with heavy manual labor or intense exercise. Any time excessive force and pressure is placed on the TMJs on an ongoing basis, the possibility of TMJ disorder forming is a risk.
How is TMD pain treated?
TMJ disorder is best treated at our Shreveport practice by addressing the underlying causes. Relaxation exercises that take pressure off the joint can create beneficial outcomes. Likewise, those who grind their teeth at night benefit from wearing a custom night guard to cushion against grinding.
The pain of TMJ disorder is best managed with over-the-counter anti-inflammatories to reduce pain and swelling. Self-massage may also help release tightened joint muscles.
Avoidance of chewing gum and hard candies as well as taking smaller bites when eating can improve the condition. Balancing chewing within the mouth also helps to more evenly distribute pressure. Changes to posture and nutrition also promote overall wellness.
When TMJ disorder is caused by misaligned teeth, bite correction through appliances may be recommended. Proper bite alignment helps relieve the joints and often completely rectifies the disorder. Patients might also find relief from BOTOX® injections that release tension at the nerves associated with the TMJs.
We aim to provide TMJ treatment for patients of our Shreveport practice using the least invasive methods possible. If you are suffering from TMJ disorder symptoms, we will assess your oral health and the potential causes of your TMJ pain, and then provide recommendations for treatment.
Learn More about the Diagnosis and Treatment of TMJ Disorder
If you suspect your pain is related to problems with your TMJs, please don’t delay in making an appointment. Early intervention helps prevent discomfort and pain associated with TMJ disorder. We want to keep your TMJs functional and healthy. Please contact Cormier Family Dentistry in Shreveport to set up an appointment, or call us at 318-868-4072.