TMJ/TMD Treatment in Seattle, WA
If you’re suffering from jaw pain, severe headaches, or a jaw that is constantly popping when you open and close your mouth, you may have issues with your temporomandibular joints (TMJ), also known as temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD). Your TMJs are the hinges that connect your jaw to your skull allowing you to move your mouth up and down and side to side. At Reen Chung, DDS, our experienced dentist can diagnose your TMD, and provide a personalized treatment plan that’s tailored for your unique needs.
Causes of TMD
There are a variety of factors that can cause TMD. These contributing factors usually create excessive strain on your TMJs which leads to many painful and uncomfortable side effects. Some of the main causes of TMD include jaw injuries, teeth clenching and grinding (bruxism), arthritis, genetics, and a misaligned bite.
How do you know if you have TMD? While every patient and situation is different, these are some of the most common symptoms of the disorder. If you experience any of the following, we strongly urge you to contact our office right away to schedule an exam and consultation with Dr. Chung.
- Tenderness in Jaw
- Frequent Headaches
- Pain Around Ears
- Pain When Chewing or Yawning
- Difficulty Opening or Closing Your Mouth
- Clicking or Popping with Jaw Movement
Sometimes TMD requires surgery, but not always. There are a wide range of conservative treatment options available, such as custom oral appliances, for you to try first. When you visit our office for a consultation, Dr. Chung will examine your mouth and jaw and recommend a treatment that will be most effective for you.
Frequently Asked Questions
What can I do to treat TMD on my own?
If you wake up in the morning with a sore jaw or face muscles, there are a few things you can do at home to relieve the pain. There are simple jaw exercises you can practice to stretch out the muscles and relieve some of the built-up tension. You can also hold an ice pack to your face or take an anti-inflammatory pain medication like Ibuprofen to reduce the discomfort. If you find yourself frequently dealing with TMJ symptoms, however, we strongly encourage you to reach out to our team to find a more permanent solution for your TMD.
What long-term effects can TMD have?
Untreated TMD has been known to have serious consequences. Patients who spend night after night clenching and grinding their teeth can damage their teeth and jawbones. Too much pressure on the temporomandibular joint can actually cause the jaw to dislocate, and patients may find themselves needing jaw surgery to have their jaw corrected. It’s always better to catch TMD as early as possible and implement preventive measures so that advanced restorative work is not needed in the future.
Does TMD go away?
TMD can often arise during times of heightened stress or anxiety, and patients may notice that their symptoms come and go. In cases like this, some patients only need to wear their custom oral appliance when they notice that their symptoms are coming back, so if TMD is a recurring issue for you, it is probably a good idea to have a custom mouthguard created. When it comes to dental issues like TMD, it’s better to have an oral appliance and not always need it than to not have one when you really need it.
How is TMJ diagnosed?
There is no standard test that is administered to diagnose TMD. Diagnosing TMJ disorder involves reviewing a patient’s symptoms and lifestyle habits and using the process of elimination to rule out other possible conditions. In addition to symptoms like jaw soreness and daily headaches, TMJ can cause visible dental issues like gum recession and tooth damage, so we may assess your teeth and gums to help determine if TMJ or bruxism is causing your symptoms.
What are some home remedies for TMJ?
If you suffer from TMJ, scheduling a visit with an experienced dental team is crucial, as you will want expert care to ensure that your TMJ is treated properly and your teeth, gums, and jaw can remain healthy. However, there are some things that can be done at home before or during your TMJ treatment to help relax your jaw muscles and relieve your symptoms. These include:
- Eating soft foods
- Applying heat or ice to sore muscles
- Practicing jaw exercises
- Taking Ibuprofen to reduce pain and swelling
- Stop or cut down on chewing gum or biting nails