Pain or other problems in the temporomandibular joints that hinge your jaw is often referred to as TMJ disorder. The sophisticated ball and socket joints work together with ligaments and muscles in your jaw, enabling you to open your mouth, chew, and speak.
Initial symptoms of TMJ disorder includes a persistent dull ache in front of your ears or near your temples. It could also be related to pain when opening and closing your mouth, biting down hard or chewing.
Grinding your teeth at night on a regular basis is one of the more common causes of TMJ disorder. It could also be caused by a past dislocation or one or both joints, arthritis or general inflammation issues.
The most common treatment strategy uses a two-step approach.
The initial phase of treatment centers on basic lifestyle modifications. This includes eating softer foods, taking over the counter anti-inflammatory medication and using heat packs to relax muscle tension. If your TMJ disorder is directly attributed to grinding your teeth a custom night guard might resolve the issue.
If after a few weeks, you don’t experience significant improvement your physician might try more advanced treatment options. This usually involves the use of prescription anti-inflammatory medication, muscle relaxers or rehabilitation exercises. If chronic night grinding is the underlying cause, they might also recommend wearing a custom night guard when you sleep.
If you have questions or concerns about TMJ disorder, please call us at 478-953-2700 to schedule an appointment. Early diagnosis improves your chances for successful treatment.