What is TMJ Disorder?
If you experience difficulty chewing, persistent jaw pain, or frequent bouts of lockjaw, there may be a problem with your temporomandibular joints (TMJ). Located beneath the ears on either side of your skull, these joints support the movement of your jaw.
Long-term strain or an injury to these joints may result in a temporomandibular disorder (TMD), leading to a “clicking” or “popping” sensation when you open and close your jaw. Discover how Dr. Paul Lawrence at SleepRight Mckinney can relieve your jaw pain.
Symptoms of TMD
Dr. Lawrence recommends scheduling an appointment at his McKinney dental office for a jaw examination if you experience any of the following symptoms:
- Frequent headaches, earaches, or toothaches
- Jawbone or joint inflammation
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Worn-down teeth
- Difficulty or pain when chewing
- Frequent ringing in the ears
- Difficulty or inability to open or close your mouth
Causes of TMD
Since TMD can be caused by a variety of influences and factors, pinpointing the exact cause of a TMJ disorder can be difficult. With years of experience, Dr. Lawrence will work with you to determine the cause of your jaw pain and create the ideal treatment plan for your unique needs.
Common causes of TMJ disorders include:
- Worn-down joints from teeth grinding (bruxism)
- Joint damage from an impact
- Displacement or erosion of joint’s disk
- Joint cartilage damage from arthritis
Relieve Your Jaw Pain With TMJ Treatments
Dr. Lawrence is proud to offer this revolutionary solution to TMD that treats more than just the painful symptoms. The DNA appliance can resolve joint problems that cause the debilitating symptoms of TMD. This unique device is worn like an orthodontic retainer and is a significant step-up from traditional mouthguards in terms of TMD treatment. Similar to a nightguard, a DNA appliance is worn while you sleep.
The removable appliance safely and painlessly stretches the upper arches of your teeth over time. This creates space for your jaw to adjust to a more optimal position and reduces strain on your TMJ. It also allows room for your tongue to occupy your mouth without blocking your airway, preventing the development of sleep apnea.
DNA appliances can prevent jaw-grinding by correcting the positioning of your mouth and jaw. To learn more about the benefits of a DNA appliance and determine if it’s the right treatment for your TMD symptoms, contact our McKinney office.
Mouthguards are a simple yet effective treatment for alleviating pain caused by TMJ disorders. These custom-made appliances won’t correct jaw alignment like DNA appliances, but they can be the first step in your treatment process. Mouthguards can help prevent grinding or clenching your teeth while you sleep. Dr. Lawrence may recommend temporary mouthguards while working with you to find an effective solution to your TMD.
Alternative Treatment Techniques
A more holistic approach to treating symptoms of TMD is with relaxation and stretching techniques.
For a simple breathing technique that helps relieve TMJ pain, inhale for a count of five or ten, slowly exhaling and repeating until you feel your pain lessening. This method can also relieve stress, which is a leading cause of teeth grinding.
Gently stretching the joints of your jaw is an effective method of pain relief. First, relax your jaw with your teeth slightly parted. Then, slowly open your mouth as wide as you can while looking up with your eyes only. Hold your mouth open for a few seconds before slowly closing it.
Once your mouth is closed, move your jaw to the left while looking left with your eyes (remember not to move your head). Hold this position for a few seconds before moving back to the center and repeating this process on your right side.
If you experience any pain while performing these exercises, stop immediately.