TMJ disorders occur when there is additional stress on the temporomandibular joint of your jaw. When this joint becomes injured or inflamed, patients often experience a wide range of symptoms, including jaw pain, tension headaches, and earaches. TMJ disorders can also cause a popping or clicking noise to occur when you open or close your mouth. Patients who have a habit of grinding their teeth or clenching their jaw when under stress are very likely to develop a TMJ disorder.
The Charleston, SC dentist office of Dr. R. Edward Hudgens can help you manage your TMJ disorder with conservative TMJ treatment options. Learn more about our TMJ treatment options below.
TMJ Signs and Symptoms
There are many different indicators that can indicate that you have a TMJ disorder. Not all of them are common things that you would associate with a dental problem. A prominent symptom of TMJ is frequent headaches, especially when you wake up in the morning. TMJ pain can radiate throughout your face and cause tension down into your neck and shoulders as well. Your face might feel tired, and it can also cause ringing in your ears.
The biggest recognizable signs of TMJ involve pain in the jaw area and changes in jaw function. It may be hard to open and close your mouth, and you may hear popping and clicking while biting and chewing. How your teeth fit together can change, and you may experience tooth pain and sensitivity. Your face may swell, especially in your cheeks near the jaw joint.
What Causes TMJ?
Issues or damage to your jaw joints or the surrounding tissues is what brings on TMJ disorders. Trauma or injury to the jaw joint causes it to be misaligned and changes the way your jaw functions. The disc in the joint that makes it track smoothly gets worn down or damaged, so the joint is no longer smooth. With the way arthritis inflames the joints, this also can cause issues with TMJ. As can anything that dislodges that disc in the joint.
Bruxism, or grinding and clenching your teeth, is one of the most common ways to get TMJ. Stress can make you do this when you’re sleeping or absentmindedly during the day. An uneven bite causes the jaw to track in a way that isn’t normal. This affects the jaw joint and TMJ disorders, too.
TMJ Treatment in Charleston, SC
If you experience frequent jaw pain, tension headaches, or earaches, we recommend you mention this to your dentist during your next appointment. Dr. Hudgens is an experienced restorative dentist in Charleston, SC. He has helped many patients manage their TMJ symptoms with our TMJ treatment options. The following are our TMJ treatment options:
Oral Appliance Therapy
A conservative treatment option for TMJ disorders is oral appliance therapy. Oral appliance therapy involves the use of a custom nightguard or a mouthguard that is worn at night. The nightguard holds your jawbone in a healthy resting position as you sleep, helping you avoid teeth grinding or jaw clenching in your sleep. Patients undergoing oral appliance therapy will wake up with a fully rested, tension-free jawbone.
Occasionally, your TMJ symptoms may be caused by issues with your bite pattern. When you are missing or have severely crooked teeth, this can create tension in your jaw joints and a TMJ disorder. If this is determined to be the cause of your symptoms, Dr. Hudgens can recommend tooth replacement options or refer you to an orthodontic specialist for bite correction therapy.
Schedule An Appointment
You don’t have to live with these debilitating symptoms forever if you suffer from frequent jaw pain, tension headaches, or earaches. Schedule an appointment with Dr. Hudgens today to learn more about how we can help you manage your symptoms so you can get back to enjoying the benefits of a happy and healthy smile.