TMJ Treatment in Corpus Christi
Most people believe that dentistry services are solely limited to practices involving the health of your teeth and helping you to retain your natural smile for as long as possible. However, your dentist can also provide services that extend to your general mouth and jaw health, including your temporomandibular joint, better known as your TMJ.
TMJ disorder is a fairly common condition that can cause pain and limit your ability to move your mouth and jaw. TMJ disorder is classified as a dental problem that should be diagnosed and treated by a qualified and experienced dentist such as our premier dental professional, Dr. Boss at Boss Dental Care.
About TMJ Disorder
The temporomandibular joint is extremely important and responsible for the movement of your mouth and jaw. The actual joint connects the lower jaw to the skull on each side of your face. The TMJ performs two actions. The hinge-like action enables us to open and close our mouths. The second action allows a gliding motion which thrusts the lower jaw backwards and forwards and enables us to open our mouth wider than usual, such as when we yawn or open our mouth to show our dentist our teeth.
What causes TMJ Disorder?
Sometimes it is difficult to pinpoint exactly why some patients develop TMJ disorder and others do not. However, there are some issues that are believed to make a diagnosis of the condition more likely. These involve:
Bruxism, which is another oral condition, in which a patient unconsciously clenches or grinds their teeth.
Prior injury to the face, neck, or jaw.
Occlusion (bite) problems.
A diagnosis of osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis.
Being diagnosed with certain diseases affecting the connective tissues in the body.
Recognizing the signs of TMJ Disorder
TMJ disorder tends to be a progressive condition, in that the symptoms often start off very mildly, and this can make them tricky to identify and easy to ignore. However, there are symptoms of TMJ disorder that indicate that you should seek an appointment with our dentist. These include:
Clicking, popping, grinding noises when you move your jaw.
Stiffness of the jaw.
Lock jaw (when your jaw becomes locked in place after a movement).
Pain in the face, ear, or jaw
Pain when eating or chewing.
Worsening pain when you feel tired or stressed.
Fortunately, there are a variety of different things that you can do to help improve the symptoms associated with TMJ disorder, which should provide some relief from pain and discomfort, and make moving your jaw much easier.
At-Home Treatments for TMJ Disorder
Dr. Boss will almost certainly recommend that you try some at-home treatments to help alleviate your symptoms. This will include a combination of different therapies including pain medications, anti-inflammatory drugs, and heat or ice packs to reduce inflammation.
You may also need to stick to a diet of soft foods so that your jaw doesn’t have to work too hard during your treatment. We may also recommend physical therapy exercises which should be performed exactly as directed, since these will help increase the range of movement in the joint and build strength in the muscles of your face and neck.
Professional Treatments for TMJ Disorder
If at-home remedies are not providing adequate relief from your TMJ symptoms, Dr. Boss may consider you to be a good candidate for professional intervention. There are several treatments which may be suitable for you. These include:
A custom-designed bite splint which will enable you jaw muscles to relax, reducing the pain and eliminating lock jaw.
Orthodontic treatment, such as a brace or Invisalign®. This is normally recommended for patients whose TMJ diagnosed is believed to be caused by problems with their bite.
Reconstructive dentistry. This could involve dental crowns, bridges or even dental implants, depending on your bite and dental health condition.
In some rare instances, it may be necessary for a patient to undergo surgery for TMJ disorder. This is a minimally-invasive procedure performed by removing any scar tissue that may be preventing the TMJ from moving properly.
If you would like to learn more about TMJ disorder or other dental treatments at Boss Dental Care, schedule an appointment today at 361-245-5400.
Boss Dental Care
Address: 801 Everhart Rd, Corpus Christi, TX 78411