TMJ pain can manifest in many ways, but it is unrelenting, exhausting, and potentially debilitating. The TMJ, or temporomandibular joints, are the hinge-like joints that connect your jaws. When they are functioning well, you probably don’t even think about them. But when something is wrong, they are painfully apparent every time you chew, laugh, smile, or open your mouth.
At Denise DiBona DDS, we will diagnose and treat your TMJ pain so, once again, you can focus on enjoying — and not just getting through — each day. Call 732-945-5343 to schedule an appointment and learn more about our TMJ treatment options.
What Does TMJ Pain Feel Like?
One of the difficulties of diagnosing TMD, or temporomandibular joint disorder, is that it can cause pain and discomfort beyond the jaw. It has a whole spectrum of symptoms that go along with it, of which you may experience some, but not all. If you notice any combination of the following indicators, we suggest contacting our office for a consultation with Dr. DiBona:
- Pain in the temporomandibular joints themselves or the surrounding jaw
- Pain or difficulty while chewing
- Pain in or around the ear
- Clicking or grating sound when you open and close your mouth
- Locking or sticking of the jaw
- Swelling of the face
- Headaches, migraines, or pain behind the eyes
- Soreness of the neck or shoulders
- Fatigue of the facial muscles
- A sudden change in your bite, or how your jaws fit together
- Dizziness or ringing of the ears
What Is the Cause of TMD?
The causes of TMJ disorder are not yet completely understood. But there are several factors that may trigger it or raise your risk:
- Trauma or injury to the mouth or jawbone
- Bruxism (teeth grinding)
- Arthritis and other inflammatory diseases
- High levels of stress or anxiety
- People with a genetic predisposition
- Jaw misalignment, or malocclusion
- Poor posture
- You are a women between the ages of 18 and 44
TMJ problems may occur when the soft disc inside the joint disintegrates or moves out of alignment, or the joint is damaged by disease or injury.
Are There Home Remedies for My TMJ?
There are steps you can take at home to try to minimize your TMD symptoms.
- Avoid overusing or taxing your jaws. Ditch hard, chewy foods for soft, easy-to-chew ones. And do not chew gum.
- Gently massage the area round the TMJ several times per day.
- If you have a habit of biting your nails or gnawing on other objects, try to find another way to deal with nervous energy.
- Exercise: this reduces stress and releases endorphins, natural painkillers produced by the body.
- Try not to carry a large or heavy purse on one shoulder. This can move the spine out of alignment and contribute to TMJ pain.
- Check your posture when walking and sitting.
- If you spend a significant amount of time on the phone, invest in a headset.
How Can Dr. DiBona Help?
Once Dr. DiBona has examined you and determined that you do suffer from TMD, there are a few ways she can treat you.
She can make an oral appliance for you to wear at night. This will be custom-made for your mouth and comfortable to wear. It will keep your jaws in proper alignment, plus prevent you from grinding your teeth while you sleep.
We also offer Botox treatments. You may be familiar with Botox as a way to eliminate wrinkles, but did you know that it is effective for eliminating TMJ pain, migraines, and other headaches?
If we determine your TMJ pain is caused by jaw misalignment, we may suggest orthodontic treatments as a solution. At Denise DiBona DDS, we offer a range of options, including Invisalign, traditional metal braces, clear braces, and Thermal NiTi.