‘Tis the season for… TMJ jaw pain? With the holidays in full swing, it’s a fun, festive, and all too often stressful time trying to get all the preparations, decorations, and shopping done on your list! While it is traditionally the most wonderful time of year, the holidays are also a whirlwind of activity, and it’s easy to get emotionally and physically stressed out along the way.
It’s no secret that stress aggravates whatever issues you may already have with your temporomandibular joints (TMJ) in your jaw, so it is important not to ignore symptoms.
Do Not Ignore TMJ Symptoms
Symptoms can vary, depending on the stage of development, and you might notice the following:
- Clicking or popping when opening and closing your jaw: If the cushioning disc in the jaw joint is displaced, the bones won’t have the cushion needed to protect them during normal function. If the ligament holding the disc in place is damaged, it can lose the ability to pull the disc back in place.
- Limited Jaw Opening: This is also caused by the displacement of the cushioning disc and happens after the clicking or popping has stopped. A limited range of motion is typically a sign that your jaw will eventually start locking.
- Tooth Wear: Abnormal wear and tear on your central incisors can make them lose their length and become even with your lateral incisors. Your teeth may develop tiny vertical cracks, and TMJ-related tooth wear can leave you with serious cracking and chipping in the teeth.
The best thing you can do for your jaw pain is to see our team so your condition can be assessed, diagnosed, and treatment can be offered. The sooner you have this condition taken care of, the sooner you will find relief!
Preparing for Your First Visit
Our team has helped many people find the relief they need for their jaw pain, and you too can experience a reduction of your symptoms and pain with the proper treatment!
Questionnaire: You will need to fill out a questionnaire that offers us insight into your health history, symptoms and any past treatments you have tried. It is a good idea to bring any relevant medical or dental records, a list of current medications, and health insurance information. You can also bring a list of questions you would like to ask.
Early Arrival: It is a good idea to come in 15 minutes early for your appointment and complete your check-in. We will go over your medical history to check for any prior illnesses or accidents and review any pertinent diagnostic records like X-rays from other treatments you have received for your jaw issues.
Evaluation: Our doctor will give you a thorough examination looking at the following:
- Oral structures and bite
- TMJ and jaw range of motion
- Chewing muscles
- Head, neck and upper thorax (for muscle or joint dysfunction)
- Any perforation in the discs around your mandibular joints
- Review your symptoms
Examination: We may take X-rays and impressions to better view your jaw. Impressions help us assess your bite, misalignment and check for a bruxism (teeth grinding) habit.
Treatment: Once a thorough evaluation has been completed, we can recommend treatment addressing your specific needs and take impressions of your bite.
Feel free to ask any questions you might have, like your treatment options and what you can expect for your results and the projected length of treatment. Your TMJ disorder may involve one or both of your jaw joints. Proper diagnosis can help us address the condition so that your jaw can recover and become healthy and strong again. You deserve to celebrate the holidays and every day without jaw pain! Give us a call to learn more!