Treating TMJ Disorder
The temporomandibular joints (TMJs) allow the jaw to move up, down, and side to side. Issues relating to strained TMJs can include facial pain, headaches, and lockjaw. At North Meridian Dental Excellence in Indianapolis, IN, Dr. Benjamin Ahlbrecht can provide TMJ treatment in the form of custom mouthguards to reduce strain and allow your TMJs to heal.
Causes of TMJ Disorder
For some patients, symptoms seem to start without obvious reason. However, there are certain factors that can contribute to TMJ strain, such as:
- Poor posture
- Grinding or clenching your teeth
- Dental misalignment
- Trauma to the teeth or jaw
- Arthritis or other inflammatory conditions
- Excessive gum chewing
- Stress or anxiety
Signs and Symptoms
The most common symptom of TMJ disorder is pain, especially near the jaw joints. Other signs of TMJ disorder include:
- Difficulty chewing
- Popping, grating, or clicking noises in the jaw joint
- Spasms of the jaw muscles
- Locking or dislocation of the jaw
- Dizziness or vertigo
- Swelling at the side of your face
- Upper shoulder pain
- Ringing in the ears
The Diagnostic Process
Many of the symptoms associated with TMJ can also indicate other oral health concerns, such as tooth decay, sinus issues, and gum disease. To determine what is causing your symptoms, Dr. Ahlbrecht will conduct a comprehensive examination and discuss your health history. He will also check your jaw joints for pain or tenderness and listen for any noticeable sounds when you move your jaw. He may also take x-rays or scans to further analyze your TMJs and the balance of your bite. Often, an imbalanced bite forces the TMJs to overcompensate in order to make the jaws meet comfortably. Over time, this strain can lead to inflammation that triggers TMJ disorder symptoms.
Wearing a mouthguard as prescribed can alleviate your symptoms and allow your TMJs to heal.
Treating TMJ Disorder
For some patients, TMJ disorder can be treated with simple home remedies, such as:
- Eating soft foods
- Applying ice packs to the joints
- Avoiding extreme jaw movements, such as yawning widely
- Massaging or stretching the neck and jaw muscles
- Practicing relaxation and stress management techniques
If these methods fail to relieve your symptoms, Dr. Ahlbrecht can provide a mouth guard to wear while you sleep. We can take impressions of your smile and craft a custom appliance to reduce the pressure on your joints. Wearing a mouthguard as prescribed can alleviate your symptoms and allow your TMJs to heal.
Protect Your Smile
At North Meridian Dental Excellence, we believe the best treatment is always the most conservative. We provide customized noninvasive treatment suited to a variety of needs. If you are experiencing consistent jaw pain or other TMJ disorder symptoms, contact our office online or call us at (317) 571-5000 to learn more about the treatment options available to you.
"North Meridian Dental Excellence is great! They've somehow cracked the code on making a trip to the dentist an enjoyable experience. Dr. Ahlbrecht and his team are all great to work with. Everyone is extremely friendly, nice and fun, while maintaining a professional, clean and private environment."Nick E.