Notice soreness or stiffness in your jaw? Do you hear a clicking sound or have trouble chewing and speaking due to pain or tightness in the joint of your jaw? These symptoms can stem from temporomandibular joint disorders, also known as TMJ.
These occur due to tension in the jaw joint that leads to its dysfunction. The symptoms will worsen without intervention from your dentist, so do not ignore any of these issues.
Treatment will depend on the precise source of the tension, so schedule an appointment with your dentist to find the right solution for your smile. Read on to learn about three ways a dentist can treat your TMJ symptoms and bring relief to tension in your jaw.
Stress Relief Activities
One of the leading causes of TMJ comes from high levels of stress. Feelings of stress create tension throughout the body, including the jaw. So working to relieve this stress can help to resolve uncomfortable TMJ symptoms.
You can complete deep breathing exercises or engage in physical activity to reduce overall stress levels. Your dentist can also recommend therapy and targeted stretches that will loosen tight muscles in the jaw. This alleviates residual tension to stop TMJ.
Sometimes, treating TMJ will involve some lifestyle changes, including your diet. Consuming hard-textured foods can aggravate the jaw, which can make it hard for the joint to heal properly. Stick to softer foods during TMJ treatment, and then you can slowly reintroduce harder foods as your symptoms go away.
Custom-Made Mouth Guard
Many TMJ cases stem from chronic behaviors like grinding or clenching the teeth, a habit known as bruxism. The pressure of grating the teeth against one another will spread to the jaw and give you TMJ.
Pay attention to your oral habits and unclench your teeth during the day. But some people exert bruxism as they sleep, in which case you cannot actively stop yourself from doing so. For these patients, a dentist might recommend a custom-made night guard.
You wear this mouthguard-like appliance as you sleep to shield your teeth from clenching and grinding that occurs during this period. The guard cushions against the pressure so that it will not hurt your jaw. The custom fit allows the appliance to feel comfortable and secure so that it will not disrupt your ability to sleep.
Sometimes TMJ, teeth grinding, and oral stress occur due to bite problems. A misaligned jaw or teeth could mean that uneven pressure is distributed across the mouth when you bite or chew. Then you could exert extra stress on the jaw, leading to TMJ.
In these cases, a dentist might refer you to an orthodontist. They can determine a customized plan to align your teeth and jaw. If your jaw suffers from extensive damage to due delayed treatment of TMJ, you might also need to visit an oral surgeon to restore your oral health.
A dentist can also help you fix any damage that may occur to your teeth due to untreated TMJ. Fix worn teeth and more when you call your dentist today.