Smile & Soothe: Navigating TMJ Treatment with Your Dentist
Jumping to conclusions and immediately recommending invasive procedures is not how our Greater Fort Lauderdale, FL, dentists operate. We prefer to take the time needed to uncover the true issue at hand and remedy the situation appropriately. One such example is how we approach TMJ treatment.
To brief you, here are 3 very doablepaths that we can explore in an effort to ease what you’re feeling.
But First, Thorough Evaluation
All jaw issues aren’t immediately . Of course, oral pain is still something that should be taken seriously which is why we’ll utilize several diagnostic methods and possibly even consult with your primary care doctor to be sure what you’re experiencing is indeed a TMJ disorder.
Starting with a dental exam, we’ll check:
- How well you can open/close your mouth (range of motion)
- Whether you notice discomfort if certain areas of your face or jaw are pressed
- The feeling of your jaw joints as you open/close your mouth
Anything abnormal found will be further examined using dental X-rays. Looking beneath the surface will allow our dentists to confirm any suspicions they may have and gather additional information that can influence your treatment. If our dentists believe that other scans, i.e., CT or MRI, are needed, we will let you know beforehand.
Some Forms of TMJ Pain Can Respond Well To:
1) Wearing a Night Guard or Bite Splint
Unlike over-the-counter products, ourare created to fit your mouth and your mouth only. Because they’re custom-made using an impression of your teeth, these dental appliances are more comfortable when worn and are capable of keeping your jaw in a better position.
There’s no metal used in the construction of the bite splint as our dentists favor hard acrylic resin instead. Depending on the design, the splint may cover a few or all of your upper or lower teeth, similar to how a mouth guard fits, but less bulky.
If your TMJ pain is associated with excessive teeth grinding or clenching (bruxism), bite splints also come in handy for this as well. You may be instructed to wear the device during the day if necessary but oftentimes, it is only worn at night or while you’re home.
2) Regular Jaw Exercise
When you’re tense before or after a workout, stretching can help you loosen up. In a similar vein, running through a list ofevery day can relieve pain you’re feeling in your jaw and face as a whole. Keep in mind, however, that these exercises are not recommended for instances of severe pain and should only be done once any heightened discomfort has subsided a bit.
Our dentists can give you pointers on how to start a TMJ exercise regimen and even demonstrate how the moves are performed if you’d like to see for yourself. In general, these variations on opening and closing the mouth can:
- Make the jaw muscles stronger
- Help relax the jaw
- Lead to greater jaw mobility and better healing
- Reduce the instance of jaw clicking
3) Applying Heat, Ice, and Massaging the Area
Comforting heat and a refreshing ice pack are always a great combination when it comes to aches and pains. Our dentists recommend placing warm, moist heat on the side of your face that is bothering you most. You can also put the ice pack in the same spot as well but only leave it in place for 15-20 minutes at a time, covered in a thin towel.
When you’re taking a break from the heat and ice, try gently massaging your jaw muscles for a few minutes. Pace yourself and try to not be too rough with your movements.
We Can Help You Heal
Our dentists serving Plantation and Greater Fort Lauderdale, FL, are here for you if you’re experiencing TMJ related discomfort. Whether we’re able to manage your condition with lower-level treatment or need to progress to an option that’s more involved, our team is right there with you. Call Barr Dental Group today at (954) 327-7400 to request an appointment.