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Chronic pain can be troublesome and can affect how you function at work, school, or even quality time with family and friends. No one wants to endure the excruciating pain for too long.
Many causes of pain can stem from the TMJ, and some are harder than others to treat. Over-the-counter medications don’t always help, often because the pain is related to another health problem. An example of this is Temporo-mandibular joint (TMJ) disorder.
Tiger Smile Family Dentistry is dedicated to helping patients improve their overall oral health— including through the treatment of TMJ disorder. Our dentists apply tried and true techniques to ease your TMJ disorder and start working towards a happier, healthier you.
TMJ disorder (TMD) is the pain and dysfunction of the muscles of chewing and the joints that connect the bottom jaw to the skull. It is a “symptom complex” caused by multiple factors and is the second most frequent cause of orofacial pain (toothache is #1).
Located at the base of the jaw, the TMJ connects the lower jaw, or mandible, to the temporal bone in front of the ear. The TMJ allows for side to side and up and down movement, making it one of the most complex joints in the body. This movement is what allows you to chew, talk, and yawn.
While the exact cause of TMJ disorder is difficult to determine, the pain can be caused by a combination of jaw injury, arthritis, and even genetics. Jaw pain can occasionally be caused by grinding or clenching your teeth, but this is not usually the case as other grinders and clenchers do not develop TMJ disorder. The condition can also occur when TMJ cartilage is damaged by arthritis, the soft cushion or disc between the joint’s ball and socket moves out of alignment, or the jaw is damaged by a blow.
If you are experiencing these symptoms, please call our team and schedule an appointment. We will set you up with one of our dentists who will conduct a thorough exam and ask questions about your medical history. Your dentist will check your jaw joints to pinpoint the pain and tenderness, listen for the noises during jaw movement, test your bite, and check for problems with your facial muscles. They may perform other checks as needed to verify and diagnose TMJ disorder. X-rays, Cone Beam CTs, and EMGs are sometimes needed to rule out other issues, check the disc positioning, and examine bony detail.
We offer TMD treatments that are specifically tailored to each patient’s individual needs. No one should live in pain; our doctors will help you to overcome this disorder.
Neurotoxin Treatment – Botulinum toxin injections help to relax the masseters, the muscles that are used when clenching and grinding your teeth. They weaken the muscles so that the tension is significantly decreased, which also decreases the tension from headaches that stem from severe clenching and grinding. These treatments typically last about 4-6 months.
Splint/Night Guard – these are made of a plastic material worn over the upper or lower teeth. They prevent the upper and lower teeth from coming together, thus reducing tooth damage from clenching or grinding. Splints are worn full-time whilst night guards are worn only during the night.
Self-Care Habits – Keeping your teeth slightly apart, learning relaxation techniques, and not resting your chin in your hand are an example of habits your dentist may recommend hastening your healing.
Moist heat or cold packs – apply an ice pack to the side of your face and temple area for 10 minutes. Do this along with a few jaw stretching exercises as instructed by your dentist. Apply a warm towel to the side of your face for about 5 minutes. Doing this several times a day will help relieve the pain.
Soft Diet – avoid hard and large food that will need you to open your mouth wide. Stick to soft foods such as yogurt, soup, bread, etc. Avoid chewing gum.
Oral medications – over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can help. Our dentist can prescribe higher doses for you should you need it. If you are allergic to NSAIDs, let your dentist know. We can discuss alternatives.
Don’t let pain ruin the things that you love or take over your school or work. Jaw pain is a serious condition and, when not tended immediately, can cause a more severe condition.
Treatment plans vary from patient to patient, depending on what your symptoms and your goals are. Trust Tiger Smile Family Dentistry to help you to find relief and get your life back!
Address: 429 E Airport Ave Suite 3, Baton Rouge, LA 70806
Phone: (225) 412-7996
Monday & Wednesday 8AM – 5PM
Tuesday & Thursday 7AM – 3PM