Did you know your dentist in Katy, TX can help with TMJ? TMJ is a common condition. According to the TMJ Association, up to 35 million Americans experience TMJ. TMJ can cause many issues, even interrupting your everyday life. If you’re experiencing TMJ symptoms, talk to the dentist for help. Our dentist can help with TMJ in many ways, including diagnosis and treatment. Let’s talk about TMJ and its treatment options from your dentist.
Can My Dentist in Katy, TX Help with TMJ?
If you have TMJ, you might wonder whether to visit the dentist or your primary care doctor. Either can start the process of diagnosing and treating your TMJ. However, a family dentistry professional specializes in caring for the teeth, gums, tongue, jaw, and mouth. They’re also trained to evaluate the muscles and nerves in the head, neck, and jaw. Therefore, your dentist can certainly help determine whether you have TMJ and look for treatment options. In fact, many people don’t realize that TMJ is the cause of their symptoms until they visit their dentist, who can identify signs of TMJ. Many people successfully relieve their TMJ symptoms with the help of their dentists.
What is TMJ?
TMJ is actually a common name used for temporomandibular joint disorders. Other common acronyms for these disorders include TMJD and TMD. However, for this article we are going to refer to temporomandibular joint disorders as TMJ.
The temporomandibular joints refer to the joints, muscles, and ligaments in the jaw. They allow you to open and close your mouth and move your lower jaw side to side, backward and forward. The temporomandibular joints connect your lower jaw to your skull and help with a variety of functions, including chewing, speaking, swallowing, and just generally moving your mouth and jaw. There are two temporomandibular joints on either side of the head. TMJ is a disorder where these joints are painful, tender, or difficult to move.
TMJ can be a temporary issue that resolves without treatment, almost like when you mildly sprain your ankle. However, many people experience chronic TMJ that causes frequent pain or difficulty in everyday life for things like speaking and chewing. In these cases, our dentist in Katy, TX may recommend TMJ treatments.
There are many things that can cause TMJ, including:
- Jaw dislocation
- Tooth alignment
- Jaw alignment
- Teeth clenching
- Teeth grinding (bruxism)
Symptoms of TMJ
TMJ can cause many different symptoms. If you’re experiencing symptoms, talk to our dentist in Katy, TX. Dentists can help with diagnosis and treatment of TMJ.
Some symptoms of TMJ include:
- Jaw pain or tenderness
- Pain or aches around the ear
- Difficulty or pain while chewing
- Facial pains and aches
- Jaw clicking
- Jaw popping
- Locking jaw (where it is difficult to open or close the mouth)
Temporary, mild jaw pain or tenderness that resolves on its own may not be a cause for concern. Also, if your jaw pops or clicks without pain, tenderness, or other symptoms, you may not need TMJ treatments. However, our dentist may recommend regularly evaluating your symptoms to catch worsening or changing symptoms. Our team can help address your TMJ symptoms through diagnosis and treatment.
How the Dentist in Katy, TX Diagnoses TMJ
Diagnosing TMJ may look different for each person. During your regular dental checkups, our dentist in Katy, TX may look for common signs of TMJ, even if you don’t complain about symptoms. For instance, she may evaluate your jaw for signs of tenderness, popping, or difficulty moving.
If you come in for TMJ symptoms or mention them during your appointment, our dentist may need to do several things to diagnose you with TMJ. For example, the dentist may ask you questions about your symptoms, when they started, and what may have caused them. Our team may also do a physical examination of your jaw, which may include touching certain points to assess pain, feeling the temporomandibular joint and surrounding area, and visually observing you open and close your mouth. TMJ diagnosis may also require imaging such as a jaw X-ray. Our dentist in Katy, TX looks for the root cause of your symptoms. In some cases, your symptoms may be caused by other conditions or it may be due to TMJ.
TMJ Treatments from the Dentist in Katy, TX
Everyone is different, and one treatment solution may work better for your TMJ than another. There may be several types of treatments our dentist in Katy, TX may recommend to help relieve your pain and symptoms. If these common treatment options from your dentist don’t work for you, we may recommend talking to a medical doctor or surgeon that specializes in TMJ to explore other treatment options. Our dentist will typically recommend lifestyle changes and TMJ night guards to start with.
Lifestyle Changes Our Dentist in Katy, TX May Recommend
In some cases, certain lifestyle changes may help relieve your TMJ symptoms. These changes can help reduce TMJ symptoms from overuse, teeth clenching, teeth grinding, or added stress on the temporomandibular joints. Some changes our dentist may recommend include:
- Avoid chewing gum
- Avoid biting your nails
- Eating softer foods
- Practicing relaxation and de-stressing techniques
- Jaw relaxing exercises
- Strengthening the jaw muscles
In some cases, using home pain relieving techniques can also help with mild TMJ symptoms. For example, alternating cold and heat on the jaw or taking over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen or acetaminophen can help you manage TMJ pain.
Custom Night Guards for TMJ
Night guards are a common option for TMJ treatment. These are custom oral appliances your dentist in Katy, TX makes specifically for you. Night guards can help relieve some of the causes of TMJ, like teeth clenching, teeth grinding, and jaw alignment. In most cases, you simply wear these at night while you sleep, which is why they are called night guards, though sometimes you may need to wear them during the day temporarily.
TMJ night guards can help reduce teeth clenching and grinding that may be the root cause of your TMJ symptoms. The night guard can help stabilize your jaw to help prevent grinding, and also they are typically made of soft materials to help provide a cushion against teeth clenching. Some night guards for TMJ also change the alignment of your jaw. Your dentist may custom-make your night guard to slightly push the lower jaw forward, which can help encourage the jaw muscles to relax.
Quality Family Dentistry from The ToothBooth
When you need quality dental care, choose our team at The ToothBooth. Whether you need preventative dental care, TMJ treatment, or an emergency dentist for urgent dental issues, our team is here for you. We are here to help you protect and improve your smile through a wide range of general, cosmetic, and specialty dental services. Dr. Taha, DDS, is an experienced family dentist who treats patients from toddlers to the elderly. Call us today at (832) 437-0841 to make an appointment!