TMJ Awareness Month: The Importance of Recognizing and Treating a TMJ Disorder

November 14, 2023

Filed under: Uncategorized — bettersleepdent @ 3:15 pm
Close-up of woman in white shirt with TMJ disorder

November is TMJ awareness month, which means now is the perfect time to start learning more about TMJ disorder. How will you know if there’s a problem with your jaw joints? Why is it important to have the condition treated? And what solutions are available? The answers to these questions can be found below, and they can help ensure that you’re properly prepared to deal with any TMJ-related problems that you may be struggling with.

What are the Warning Signs of TMJ Disorder?

Having a TMJ disorder means that the joints keeping your lower jaw connected to the rest of your skull are not working properly. Depending on what caused the problem, you may notice the following symptoms:

  • Chronic pain on one or both sides of your jaw.
  • Frequent headaches.
  • A clicking or popping sound when opening your jaw or chewing your food.
  • A ringing sound in your ears (also known as tinnitus).
  • Pain behind your eye or around your ear.
  • Having trouble opening or closing your jaw.

Any of these warning signs can warrant a call to a TMJ specialist who can determine whether you are truly suffering from a TMJ disorder.

Why Should You Have a TMJ Disorder Treated?

You might think that you can learn to live with your TMJ-related pain, but the constant discomfort will eventually take a toll on your quality of life. And if you leave the problem alone for too long, your symptoms may grow more severe over time. In short, it’s recommended that you have your TMJ disorder treated as soon as possible.

How Can Your TMJ Disorder Be Treated?

Sometimes your TMJ treatment might involve a TENS machine. This device can deliver gentle electric currents to the muscles in your jaw, thereby blocking pain signals from being sent to the brain. Oftentimes, a TENS machine can help you find relief from your TMJ-related pain so that you can stay comfortable while undergoing additional treatments to address the underlying cause of the problem.

Another possible treatment option is wearing an occlusal splint. By wearing this simple oral appliance while you sleep, you can keep your jaw in a more relaxed position that gives the muscles around the TMJs a chance to rest and recover.

If your TMJ disorder is related to a misaligned bite, an occlusal adjustment might be called for. A small amount of enamel can be removed from your teeth so that the upper and lower arches line up properly when your mouth is closed. Correcting your bite problems can relieve some of the tension that your TMJs are exposed to.

Do you think you may have a TMJ disorder? You should start taking steps to deal with it right now. Get in touch with a TMJ specialist today to schedule a consultation and take your first step toward enjoying a pain-free lifestyle again.

About the Author

Dr. Sara Saba is proud to have a career that allows her to help people while also pursuing her interests in art and science. She studied dentistry at the University of Maryland at College Park. Her Aspen Hill practice, Exceptional Dentistry Pain & Sleep Solutions, offers a number of treatments for TMJ disorder. To schedule a consultation with Dr. Saba, visit her website or call (301) 460-3331.

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