Do you feel a lot of pain in your jaw when you eat or at any time of the day or night? If so, there is a good chance you may suffer from temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder. TMJ occurs when the temporomandibular joints have trouble moving freely. The end result is pain and discomfort, and this condition can lead to other problems, such as headaches. If you believe you have this, you can seek treatment first by talking to your dentist about it. Your dentist might suggest one or more of the following treatment options.
Wearing a night guard while you sleep
In a lot of cases, TMJ is the result of clenching and grinding of the teeth while sleeping. If this is the cause of your TMJ, the dentist is likely to recommend wearing a night guard while you sleep. A night guard is a custom-made device that will fit inside your mouth, and you will need to wear it every night. The purpose of the night guard is to give your jaw a break and to help you stop damaging your teeth, jaw, and mouth while you sleep. When you wear this, it will provide a gap and cushion between your upper and lower jaw, and you may feel a difference with your pain level after wearing it for just a few nights.
Visiting a physical therapist
Dentists also sometimes recommend visiting a physical therapist for treating TMJ. Through physical therapy, you can learn exercises that will strengthen your jaw muscles. When you do these repeatedly, your jaw muscles will slowly regain strength, and this can often reduce the pain associated with TMJ. This is a great treatment option for anyone with TMJ, but it can be especially helpful if you have arthritis. Arthritis can lead to TMJ pain or cause the pain to worsen and performing exercises with the jaw can help this a lot.
Getting surgery on your jaw
If you have TMJ as a result of an accident or jaw deformity, one of the only options you may have for treating it could involve surgery. If your jawbone is misaligned, for example, performing surgery might be the only way to reposition it. Surgery is generally the last resort for treating any type of problem, but it is sometimes necessary for some people.
If you believe you might have this condition, talk to a dentist, like Kenneth Schweizer DDS PA. Your dentist can diagnose TMJ and help you determine a good treatment option for you to try.