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Managing TMJ Pain and Disorder

“TMJ” is often the catchphrase used by people to describe pain within the temporomandibular joint. However, a more appropriate term would be “temporomandibular joint disorder,” or “TMD.” It’s a common condition that can lead to chronic headaches, migraines, and muscle pain through the face, neck, shoulders, and back.

Symptoms of TMD

Everyone has a TMJ, but few actually have TMJ disorder. Some of the symptoms that are linked to the condition include:

  • Popping when the jaw opens and closes
  • A reduced range of joint motion
  • Chronic headaches
  • Excessive tooth wear/fractures

Treatments for Jaw Pain

Fortunately, most effective treatments for TMJ disorder do not involve any invasive surgeries. Being that one of the most common causes of jaw pain is clenching the teeth (often attributed to a stressful lifestyle,) a bite splint can help to alleviate tension and tooth wear.

At other times, calibration of the bite through restorative crowns or orthodontic therapy helps to reduce overuse and strain to the TMJ, when the bite is “off.”

In certain circumstances, physical therapy, massage, warm compresses, or even injectables are used to ease muscle tension. The key is to identify your triggers and prevent them from causing recurring complications.

Do I Have TMJ Disorder?

At John L. Kinsley, DDS General & Restorative Dentistry, we perform a comprehensive exam of the TMJ during all new patient appointments. Dr. Kinsley will continue to assess your joint function at biannual checkups. Please be sure to let us know if you are experiencing any unexplained jaw or facial pain. It may be that all you need is a quick impression and a custom fit splint. The minimal investment can save you thousands in dental work later on!

For more information on managing migraine headaches and TMJ pain, call our 3rd generation dental office in Rocky River today!