The temporomandibular joints (TMJ) connect to the upper and lower jaws. If these joints experience issues and problems, they could cause TMJ disorders, known as TMD, that require immediate treatment. Fortunately, the best dentist in Nashville, TN, can help you manage and identify the different signs of this oral health problem.
TMJ Warning Signs
Pain When Chewing
Any inflammation of the TMJ also affects how easily food is chewed because they are responsible for controlling the jaw muscles. When a patient experiences TMJ problems, the jaw muscles exert more effort, which causes unwanted pain. Additionally, moving your jaws back and forth causes pain and discomfort in the affected area.
Pain in the Ear
The temporomandibular joint is located behind the ear canal. The middle ear will feel pressure and discomfort if the joint becomes inflamed. Some people might experience pain in their ear because of TMD. Others also experience tinnitus or ear ringing. While tinnitus and ear pain don’t usually indicate TMD, patients can have their ears checked by an ENT to confirm the diagnosis.
Making a Clicking Noise When the Mouth Moves
When the joints on your jaw make a popping or clicking noise, erosion and deterioration have already begun. Bad habits such as excessive chewing, jaw clenching, biting, and teeth grinding can cause additional problems to your teeth. Some issues can also be caused by injuries to the mouth which can worsen over time. TMD may also be brought on by other illnesses like rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.
Lockjaw is a condition where the jaw muscles can’t function normally because the neck and jaw muscles lock; this condition is frequently linked to tetanus. The illness causes the patient a great deal of pain and may prevent salivation, which could cause problems with their oral health. The mouth’s reduced movement also brings on speech issues and difficulty swallowing.
Treatment Options for TMJ
Painkillers and self-care are often used to manage TMJ pain. Some people wear night guards to avoid clenching their jaws or grinding their teeth while they sleep. While surgery is an option, patients are advised to save it as a last resort.
Patients can also try home remedies to help manage their TMJ. There are plenty of instances where self-care procedures performed at home can successfully treat the signs and symptoms of TMJ issues. You can do the following at home to lessen TMJ symptoms:
- Avoid eating rough or solid meals and chewing gum.
- Relax your jaw muscles by massaging them.
- Improve your jaw movement by performing workouts that stretch your jaw.
- Eat soft foods.
What Happens if You Don’t Treat Your TMJ?
While TMJ doesn’t pose a life-threatening risk, it can result in severe jaw pain and stress if left untreated. Additionally, your teeth may sustain damage, and the affected joints may inflame and swell. You don’t have to bear the pain and suffering caused by TMJ on your own. Discuss your symptoms with your dentist.
Are You Looking for the Best Dentist in Nashville, TN?
At Dentistry of Nashville, our dentist can help treat, manage, and improve the condition of your TMJ. Please call us to schedule an appointment if you believe temporomandibular joint issues are the source of jaw pain.