Do you suffer from chronic headaches or migraines? Do you experience frequent pain of the teeth, jaw, face, head, or neck? Do you find yourself having to take pain medication regularly just to get through the day? Have you tried countless prescriptions, home remedies, or other techniques and are at your wits end trying to find a solution? At Family Dental Health, we’re more than “just teeth” and we don’t just want to treat your chronic pain, we want to get to the bottom of why it’s happening in the first place – so we can prevent it; because you deserve to live a pain-free life.
What is TMJ/TMD?
TMJ stands for temporomandibular joint, or the jaw joint. TMD stands for temporomandibular joint dysfunction, or temporomandibular disorder. To make things confusing, these two terms are often used interchangeably, and are sometimes also called TMJD. For simplicities sake, we’ll use TMD here to describe any disorder or dysfunction of the TMJ or jaw joint.
TMD is characterized by:
- Pain in the face, neck, shoulders and jaw joint area when you speak, chew or open your mouth
- Your jaw gets stuck or locks in the open or closed position
- Your face feels tired
- Trouble chewing or it feels like your upper and lower teeth are not connecting the right way
- Facial swelling
- Clicking, popping or grinding sounds in your jaw joint when you open and close your mouth
- Chronic headaches or migraines
- Chronic pain of the myofascial region (head, neck, jaw, mouth, face, shoulders)
- Ringing in the ears
What causes TMD?
TMD is largely caused by stress. Everyone carries their stress in different parts of their bodies. Some hold stress in their back, neck, or shoulders, some in their hands or legs, but for many, stress manifests itself in the jaw joint. This contributes to excessive tension in the joint, as well as chronic teeth grinding or clenching (bruxism) that contributes to TMD problems.
TMD can be caused by a number of factors, including:
- Teeth grinding or clenching (bruxism)
- Bite misalignment
- Impacted teeth
- Traumatic injury
- Poor posture
- Excessive gum chewing
TMD solutions & treatment
If you can relate to any of the above causes, signs or symptoms, you should schedule an appointment to meet with Dr. Case. He can take x-rays and digital scans of your myofascial region to gain more insight into the problem. If your case is not too severe, there are some things you can do at home to help minimize TMD symptoms:
- Stress reduction techniques
- Using cold or hot compresses on the area
- Taking an over the counter anti inflammatory
- Eating soft foods
- Try to relax the jaw as often as possible
- Avoid chewing gum
- Gentle massage & stretching techniques
If at-home therapies are not enough, he can fit you with a custom oral appliance that you wear during sleep to minimize the effects of teeth grinding and clenching, helping to relax the jaw joint, thus treating the root cause of your pain. A simple oral appliance could mean the difference between a painful and a pain-free life.
Call your Portland Dentist today!
If you’re ready to get to the bottom of what’s causing your chronic pain, and rediscover the beauty of a life without TMD, you’ve come to the right place. If you have any questions about TMJ/TMD, or would like to schedule an appointment with your Portland dentist – Dr. David Case at Family Dental Health – give us a call today at (503) 433-3737.