Oral health doesn’t just involve your teeth. We evaluate all areas of your mouth, including your jaw and the joint where the jaw opens and closes. Known as the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), this area of the jaw can sometimes be the source of pain and discomfort.
Many sufferers of TMJ disorder experience a “popping” or “clicking” sound when chewing or talking, however, this symptom is not exclusive of TMJ/TMD. Your jaw may be functioning properly, despite hearing noises during movement. The best way to know if your jaw is healthy is to get a complete evaluation by Dr. James Shook.
Our exam assesses the joint tissue where the jaw hinges. Swelling or deterioration can be signs of a problem. Damage to this tissue can leave the bones without cushioning. Most patients with TMJ discomfort can find temporary relief with cold compresses and over-the-counter pain medicine.
Appropriate Therapy So You Can Find Relief
For advanced TMJ cases, we’re prepared to offer alternative treatments, such as bite splints and anterior deprogramming appliance therapy. These appliances reposition the jaw, to relieve stress on the joint. Anterior deprogramming appliances are hard acrylic splints that interfere with the occlusion (bite) in such a way that the posterior teeth (premolars and molars) are prevented from contact allowing the muscles in the jaw to relax. This muscle relaxation, often times, will reduce stress and tension on the jaw joint. We may also recommend a custom mouthguard to protect your teeth from wear caused by unintentional grinding.
TMJ disorder can be painful and can affect the overall health of your mouth. Don’t let the functionality of your mouth suffer because of an occlusion problem. Let us know if you experience any of the common symptoms that may indicate TMJ disorder including:
- Pain or tenderness in your jaw
- Difficulty chewing due to discomfort
- Facial pain
- Locking, clicking, or popping of the joint
- Difficulty opening and closing your mouth
We’ll help determine the most appropriate therapy, so you can find relief as quickly as possible.