At Egger Orthodontics, we want our patients as informed as possible about conditions that can affect your dental health. Our orthodontists are trained to help you with tooth realignment, periodontal disease, and any oral disorder you might suffer. One area of your mouth that can be susceptible to problems is known as the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). If it is difficult for you to move your jaw without pain, then you may suffer from temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD), a unique condition that we can help you overcome.
What Is Your TMJ?
TMJ refers to the temporomandibular joint which connects your upper and lower jaw together. Located in front of the lower part of the ear, this joint is known for its intricacy, as it is responsible for moving your jaw backward, forwards, and side-to-side. If this complex joint fails to work properly, then you can develop pain in your jaw or near your ears. This can then become TMD, which occurs when there are problems with your jaw and muscles in your face.
What Symptoms Indicate That My TMJ Is Not Working Properly?
It can be difficult to make the distinction between the symptoms of TMD and other problems that may affect your mouth. One common trend is that TMD patients suffer from various difficulties with their jaw. A clicking or popping sound can occur when you open and close your mouth. Yawning may bring on pain, headaches, earaches, and pain behind the eyes. Your jaw muscles may also feel tender. All of these factors can indicate a problem with your TMJ that our orthodontists can help you address.
How Can The TMJ Be Treated?
There are multiple different treatments that our orthodontists can prepare to help substantially reduce your symptoms. Learning relaxation techniques can be an effective way to deal with muscle tension in the jaw. Wearing an orthodontic appliance such as a splint or bite plate can keep your teeth from grinding together. Applying muscle relaxants, aspirin, or other anti-inflammatory drugs can help you counteract unwelcome muscle spasms and pain. If none of these treatments help, we can recommend jaw joint surgery to definitively deal with the problem.
What Can Help Ease TMJ Irritation?
If your TMJ or jaw hurts, opening it widely can aggravate the issue. Because of this, we recommend altering your habits to lessen big bites and yawns. A soft or liquid diet can help you avoid chewy foods that would require more jaw activity. Placing your thumb or fist under your chin and pressing upward as you open to bite, yawn, or use your jaw can help control against opening is so wide that it hurts. Gently stretching your jaw can also help prevent TMJ pain from coming back.
While there are many exercises and routines that can help you deal with TMJ pain, contacting us should be a priority so that our orthodontists can set up a treatment plan to see how we can stop it completely. If your jaw or TMJ hurts and you believe that treatment could be the right choice for you, call us today at 425.270.1616.
All of the staff members are consistently friendly and warm! They are wonderful with children (even the little sister that wanted to closely watch)! Dr. Egger and her staff are very gentle, knowledgeable and professional and spend quality time educating patients and family. We feel like we are getting excellent care!
- Kristina M.