man with jaw painDo you ever experience pain in your jaw? Have you ever woken up with sore jaw muscles? If so, you might have TMJ, otherwise known as temporomandibular joint syndrome.

1. What Is TMJ?

The temporomandibular joint connects your jaw to your skull. When this joint is damaged or injured, it can lead to a disorder called TMJ syndrome. In addition to experiencing jaw pain or sore jaw muscles, TMJ sufferers may also have symptoms that include:

  • Jaw clicking sounds
  • Ear pain or popping sounds in the ears
  • Headaches
  • Pain in the temple area
  • Jaw locking

2. How Is Someone Diagnosed with TMJ?

A diagnosis of TMJ is primarily based on a patient’s history and a clinical examination of the head and neck. Sometimes images of the teeth and jaws are used as a diagnostic tool.

At May Family Dental, we can reliably diagnose TMJ at our office by examining your teeth and jaw, testing your bite, and taking X-rays to study your jaw.

3. What Treatment Options Exist for TMJ Sufferers?

Most experts recommend conservative, non-surgical treatments to address TMJ, opting to use surgery as a final resort. If you suffer from TMJ, the following suggestions may provide you with some relief:

  • Apply moist heat or cold packs for about 5 minutes to your jaw muscles after doing some gentle stretching exercises
  • Eat softer foods, avoiding hard, crunchy items and things like chewing gum
  • Use medications to alleviate jaw pain. For instance, the Cleveland Clinic reports that over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like aspirin and ibuprofen can help with muscle pain and swelling. Muscle relaxants and anti-anxiety drugs—both of which are only available by prescription—can also be useful for those who grind/clench their teeth or those who experience a lot of stress
  • Night guards prevent upper and lower teeth from coming together, reducing clenching and grinding. They also correct patients’ bites, putting the teeth in an optimal position

4. How Does May Family Dental Treat Patients with TMJ?

Most people do not typically associate TMJ treatment with their dentist, but that is probably the first place a TMJ sufferer should start. At May Family Dental, we can reliably diagnose and treat TMJ. Furthermore, if you have any missing teeth or bite problems that are contributing to your jaw pain, we can provide corrective dental treatments to offer you some relief.

Most importantly, we can create a custom night-guards for you that will help:

  • Eliminate your teeth grinding
  • Eradicate morning lock jaw
  • Alleviate jaw popping sounds
  • Relieve jaw tension and pain
  • Improve your jaw mobility, making chewing more comfortable
  • Protect teeth enamel from wear
  • Reduce tooth loss associated with persistent grinding

If caught early enough, we can treat your TMJ jaw pain in a relatively short period of time. In addition to the mouthguard, we may also recommend stress-reduction techniques and other non-invasive approaches.

5. How Can I Schedule a TMJ Consultation with May Family Dental?

Scheduling a TMJ consultation with us is easy, and we have two convenient locations to serve you. Simply click here to fill out our online appointment request form. Alternatively, you can give our Zanesville office a call at 740.452.5441 or our Logan office at 740.385.2631. We look forward to working with you!