Why Your Jaw Might Hurt And How To Treat It

If you’re suffering from constant headaches, earaches, pain or swelling in your jaw/face, or jaw popping you may have a condition called TMD – or Temporomandibular Disorder. TMD refers to a variety of conditions that affect the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) and/or the facial muscles surrounding it. While the exact number is uncertain, some estimates suggest that over 10 million Americans are affected by TMD or TMJ. The ailment seems to be more prevalent in women than in men. Thankfully, for most people, pain in the area of the jaw joint or muscles does not signal a serious problem. However,  you should seek an evaluation from your top El Paso dentists at Picasso Smiles Dental. Our dentists not only provide general dentistry to adults and children, but we are also experts in a wide variety of sub-specialties and treatment methods, including dental implants and cosmetic dentistry. But dental care goes beyond just a smile – for many patients, TMJ can be a major source of pain and irritation.
 

Symptoms Of Temporomandibular Disorder

 

The temporomandibular joint which is called the TMJ or “jaw joint” is the hinge that connects your jaw to the temporal bones of your skull. Your TMJ allows you to move your jaw up and down and side to side so you can speak and chew. People who experience problems with TMJ often are suffering from a temporomandibular disorder or TMD. TMD is not always easy to diagnose because there are many symptoms and because all people are not affected in the same way. If you experience any of the symptoms below, make an appointment and have your teeth checked. The most common TMD symptoms of our El Paso patients include:
 

  • The temporomandibular joint which is called the TMJ or “jaw joint” is the hinge that connects your jaw to the temporal bones of your skull. Your TMJ allows you to move your jaw up and down and side to side so you can speak and chew. People who experience problems with TMJ often are suffering from a temporomandibular disorder or TMD. TMD is not always easy to diagnose because there are many symptoms and because all people are not affected in the same way. If you experience any of the symptoms below, make an appointment and have your teeth checked. The most common TMD symptoms of our El Paso patients include:
     

Causes of TMD

 

There are many potential causes of TMD, but the source is likely related to the occlusion or the bite from the position of your jaws. If your jaw joint is putting stress on your ligaments, nerves, and other components that can create a chronic irritation of the joint, resulting in a wide range of symptoms including unexplained tooth sensitivity, gum recession, pain, and a variety of other issues. Most dentists believe symptoms arise from these problems with the muscles of your jaw or with the parts of the joint itself. Some of the most common causes of TMD could include:
 

  • Injuries to the jaw, TMJ or head & neck muscles

  • Grinding or clenching of the teeth

  • Dislocation of the disc between the ball and socket

  • Osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis in the TMJ

  • Tightening of the facial and jaw muscles brought on by stress
     

El Paso Experts In TMD Treatment

 

If you are suffering the pain and discomfort of TMD, you are fortunate to have one of the top TMD treatment experts in the country right here in El Paso. Dr. Nima Shayesteh recently completed a two-year advanced training and credentialing in TMD care and treatment to help treat our El Paso area patients. Dr. Shayesteh’s training program at the F.A.C.E foundation resulted in the award of a prestigious certificate for Post-Graduate Study in Advanced Occlusion, Restorative and Prosthetic Techniques. Worldwide, only 14 dentists were selected, accepted and graduated from this elite program for the 2015-2017 mentorship training. The skills he attained from this program allows him to treat patients with joint dysfunctions & pain like TMD as well as to rehabilitate & reconstruct full mouths, and perform complex dentistry. As your top El Paso dentistry, our goal is to ensure optimum oral health. So when our patients are in pain it is critical that we do everything in our power to relieve that pain.
 

TMD Treatment

 

If you have experienced any of the causes and symptoms of TMJ, we encourage you to make an immediate appointment with our El Paso dental experts to relieve your jaw pain. Thankfully, treatment is usually fairly simple.
 

1. Home TMD Treatment

 

In some cases, you can relieve your periodic TMJ pain and discomfort with a variety of home treatment methods. For example, moist heat from a heat pack or a hot water bottle wrapped in a warm, moist towel applied to your jaw can improve function and reduce pain. Other patients can reduce swelling and pain with an ice pack wrapped in cloth and applied to your jaw. Rest your jaw to promote healing by eating soft foods. You also may choose to take over-the-counter pain relievers to alieve your discomfort.
 

2. Exercise & Relaxation Techniques For TMD

 

Your El Paso dentist may prescribe jaw exercises and/or relaxation techniques to help treat your TMJ dysfunction. Slow, gentle jaw exercises can improve jaw mobility and healing. While relaxation and guided imagery can assist in reducing pain and discomfort. Your dentist will develop a plan of action individualized for your particular needs.
 

3. Orthodontic Treatment To Relieve TMD

 

If the source of your TMJ is an occlusion issue, clear braces also known as Invisalign or ClearCorrect, from Picasso Smiles may be able to fix the alignment your jaw, and therefore help TMD symptoms. The clear aligners may also help relieve your pain immediately as they act as a shield to prevent you from biting while your jaws are misaligned. More serious occlusions may require the use of braces treatment.
 

 4. FOSA Treatment For TMD

 

The most common TMD treatment for our El Paso patients is the use of a Face Orthopedic Stabilization Appliance (FOSA). Your Picasso Smiles dentist will custom-make this appliance to ease irritation and relieve pain. The FOSA is a highly specialized appliance that’s manufactured specifically to fit your unique jaw and bite – it’s much more detailed than a traditional night guard, which simply acts as a buffer between the teeth. Accordingly, treatment with a FOSA is more involved – it’ll require two appointments and about two and a half hours of ‘chair time’ with the dentist at one of our two conveniently located and comfortable El Paso offices. We’ll use this time to make detailed measurements of your mouth, jaw, and bite, helping us design your FOSA to perfectly fit your mouth and position your jaw correctly.

Once you have your FOSA, you’ll to wear it every night as you sleep. Keeping it clean is vital for effective treatment, so be sure to brush it thoroughly after wearing it. With daily use and conscientious care, a FOSA is a critical step for relieving TMJ irritation and pain.
 

Contact Your El Paso Dentists

 

If you have any of the symptoms above and believe you have TMD, we recommend visiting one of our El Paso dentist offices for evaluation. If you have any questions about TMD, please feel free to contact us as we are always happy to speak with you! Call our Westside El Paso office at (915) 800-7704 or our Eastside El Paso office at  (915) 800-7393.  We also offer a convenient online appointment form. With Picasso Smiles Dental, you’ve found your home for all of your oral health needs – from general and cosmetic dentistry to dental implants and sleep apnea solutions. We’re here to help listen to your concerns, diagnose your symptoms and relieve your TMJ pain. Call today!

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