Have you experienced pain or tightness in your jaw? Are they accompanied by a clicking sound in the jaw, headaches, earaches, or a decline in mobility in the jaw? You might be suffering from temporomandibular joint disorders, also known as TMJ.
This condition affects the muscles in the jaw and can worsen without intervention from a dental professional. Your dentist can evaluate your oral health to find an optimal treatment to restore your jaw health. Dr. Matthew Gerald, a dentist practicing in Vienna, VA, lists three treatment options that your dentist may suggest to relieve uncomfortable symptoms from TMJ disorders.
How to Alleviate TMJ Symptoms
Practice Stress Relief Exercises
In many cases, TMJ disorders can develop from the habit of teeth grinding or clenching. This behavior, often referred to as bruxism, causes top teeth to grate against bottom teeth, generating pressure that extends to the jaw and damages the muscle and joint there.
High levels of stress can initiate or exacerbate bruxism, so dental professionals often begin TMJ treatment with efforts to relieve stress. This includes encouraging dental patients to seek relaxation techniques like yoga. They may also recommend facial exercises that will loosen tight muscles in the jaw and alleviate tension that causes uncomfortable TMJ symptoms.
Wear a Custom-Made Mouthguard
Bruxism is usually a subconscious habit and it often manifests while a patient is asleep and cannot control their behavior. Dentists recommend that these patients wear a mouthguard overnight to cushion their teeth against grinding and clenching that may occur during sleep.
The dentist can construct a personalized mouthguard that will fit comfortably and securely in the mouth. The oral appliance can also keep the jaw aligned so that it rests in a position that does not create more tension that can cause TMJ symptoms to worsen.
Realign Your Bite
For patients whose jaw function has degenerated considerably due to TMJ disorders, dentists may recommend restorative dental solutions. A misaligned bite can contribute to pressures that lead to TMJ, and the alignment may worsen as this condition continues.
The dentist may refer the patient to an orthodontist to amend malocclusions or straighten crooked teeth. A corrected bite can alleviate tension in the jaw and thus treat TMJ symptoms. They may use Invisalign, braces, or other orthodontic solutions to realign a patient’s smile.
If the jawbone has weakened or deteriorated to a great extent, the dentist may recommend that the patient visit an oral surgeon. They can repair structural damage to the jaw, especially in individuals who experienced an advanced decline in their oral capabilities due to TMJ.
Find Treatment for TMJ and Other Dental Concerns in Vienna, VA
Dr. Gerald offers TMJ treatment and other restorative dental solutions to patients in Vienna, VA. Our practice also specializes in general and cosmetic dentistry, including professional teeth whitening services, for patients of all ages. To schedule an appointment with our team, contact our office by phone at 703.721.4796 or reach our staff online.