Edmonton Emergency Dentists
Our jawbone is connected to our skull through the temporomandibular joint, which allows our jaws to open and close with ease. But for those with TMJ disorder, this joint leads to TMJ jaw pain that can be severe and chronic.
Temporomandibular joint disorder is characterized by consistent pain in the jaw joints (temporomandibular joint). This may limit your mouth movement and cause difficulty when eating, speaking, or chewing.
While this disorder stems from issues with the jaw joint, it causes pain to the surrounding areas and tissues. Untreated TMJ disorder can lead to ear, neck, or general facial pain. It’s also known for creating dental issues.
At our dental clinic, we offer a range of solutions for this condition. Early interventions can prevent damage to the teeth and bones in our mouth. Don’t wait to call for help—with dental treatment, you can reduce the facial pain caused by Temporomandibular Joint Disorder.
What Is temporomandibular joint disorder?
A TMJ disorder refers to an issue with the jaw that may cause severe pain to the bones, joints, and facial area. This condition may be due to misalignment, clenching, teeth grinding, or other injuries. It’s estimated that 5-12% of the population suffers from TMJ disorder, which is twice as prevalent in women than men.
Worried that you may be dealing with TMJ disorder? Have neck aches, hearing problems, or frequent headaches? Be mindful of the following symptoms:
Even though ear pain might seem unrelated to your jaw, earaches are a common side effect of TMJ disorder. Sore and sensitive ears can result from tension in the jaw.
A night spent grinding or clenching the jaw is not conducive to a good night’s rest. If you consistently wake up feeling tired, it may be caused by a disrupted sleep from grinding or clenching. You also have frequent headaches.
Facial pain & jaw pain
Do you notice soreness or tenderness that radiates from your jaw and spreads throughout your face? Tension and pain in the facial muscles may be due to temporomandibular disorder.
A crack, click, or popping sound when you open your jaw
While eating, speaking, or yawning, your jaw may produce unusual sounds. Your jaw may even lock up at times due to strain.
Our jaws are a force to be reckoned with; they exert tremendous power when chewing so that we can digest food. But when the upper and lower teeth grind together or clench repeatedly, it may cause chips, cracks, or broken teeth. It could even break a dental filling or crown.
Tooth decay can lead to more serious dental complications, such as lost teeth. This is why it’s imperative to seek treatment for temporomandibular disorder sooner than later.
What Causes TMJ?
While there is rarely a single cause behind this disorder, a few factors contribute to the development of TMJ. They include:
Anxiety and stress are one of the leading causes behind TMJ. In fact, many dentists have seen an increase in the number of patients with this disorder since the pandemic.
If other members of your family deal with TMJ disorder, you could be at a higher risk of developing it. Arthritis may also play a role in the development of this condition.
Bruxism (teeth grinding)
Those who grind their teeth unconsciously at night are at a higher risk of developing TMJ. While these conditions have some similarities, not everyone with bruxism develops TMJ, and not everyone with TMJ grinds their teeth.
Higher rates of TMJ are associated with sleep apnea, a condition that causes patients to deal with restricted breathing during sleep. Studies show that those with obstructive sleep apnea are at a higher risk of developing TMJ.
An accident or impact may cause the jaw joint to become misaligned. In turn, this may lead to issues with grinding or clenching the jaw.
TMJ Treatment Options
Issues with the temporomandibular joint can cause severe TMJ jaw pain that interferes with daily life—not to mention the damage it can do to your smile. To alleviate these symptoms, you can try some of the following TMJ treatment options:
A muscle relaxant may aid those who deal with TMJ disorders by preventing the muscles from clenching or grinding. Anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen can reduce swelling and soreness.
Consistent exercises can reduce the tension that accumulates in your jaw joints. You may also find it helpful to schedule a massage that focuses on the jaw and facial muscles.
Stress reduction techniques
Given that one of the causes of TMJ is anxiety, relaxation techniques can be an effective preventative treatment. Counselling or therapy can help those who deal with stressful life situations. Alternatively, you can try practicing meditation, yoga, or breathing exercises.
You may find that when your stress levels are actively managed, you tend to clench your jaw less frequently.
While it’s still an experimental treatment, some patients seek Botox injections to alleviate pain in their jaw joints. Botulinum toxin works by preventing the targeted muscles from contracting. It’s often used to reduce wrinkles, but some use it to paralyze and relax muscles that are causing tmj jaw pain.
Although more research is required to confirm the validity of this treatment, it may provide relief for some patients.
Also known as a mouthguard or occlusal splint, a dental splint creates a physical barrier between your teeth. Each dental splint is custom-made to fit your top and bottom rows of teeth. Depending on the severity of your TMJ, you may only wear the splint at night, or for periods during the day.
In extreme cases where other treatments are ineffective, surgery may be recommended. This is often the last resort and is only performed when absolutely necessary. It can be done to prevent further damage to the jaw, including bone fractures.
Book Your Appointment Today
We can discuss appropriate treatment options to alleviate your discomfort and prevent tooth decay. Contact us today to schedule an appointment for TMJ pain management and relief.