Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder can cause jaw pain, chronic migraines, teeth grinding, and back and neck pain. If you are experiencing a minor case of this issue, Dr. Matthew A. Turner provides TMJ treatment at his Blue Springs, MO, using custom dental guards. The TMJs are located on either side of the jaw, and are responsible for the movement required for eating, chewing, and speaking. If the jaws do not meet properly for any reason, it can force the TMJs to overcompensate, and this prolonged strain can trigger TMJ disorder symptoms. Our dental guards can correct the position of your jaws to help you achieve comfort. If an examination reveals that you may have a serious TMJ disorder, we can refer you to the appropriate Healthcare Provider.
Symptoms of TMJ Disorder
Symptoms of TMJ disorder can include:
- Jaw pain
- Neck or shoulder pain
- Facial pain or fatigue
- Clicking or popping of the jaw joint
- Stiffness or limited jaw movement
If the jaws do not meet properly, it can force the TMJs to overcompensate, and this prolonged strain can trigger TMJ disorder symptoms.
Diagnosis and Treatment
A proper diagnosis is necessary to find the most beneficial treatment for you. Dr. Turner will perform a series of examinations to assess your TMJs, occlusion (the way your upper and lower teeth fit together), facial muscles, and surrounding tissues. Advanced digital imaging may be used to evaluate the jaw bone, joints, and teeth. Once a diagnosis has been made, Dr. Turner will discuss treatment options with you.
Based on Dr. Turner's findings, he may recommend either a custom occlusal guard or night guard.
Fabricated from high-quality materials, a bite guard is worn over the upper and lower teeth. Because the teeth do not touch while wearing a bite guard, it reduces the effects of bruxism (teeth grinding and jaw clenching). Bite guards can also keep your teeth in healthier position in order to reduce strain.
Some patients may be prone to grinding or clenching their teeth while they sleep. A custom night guard is similar to an occlusal guard, but is specifically designed to be worn during sleep.
Meanwhile, other measures can be taken to alleviate TMJ discomfort:
- Ice: Applying cold compresses to the external jaw area can help reduce swelling and alleviate discomfort.
- Moist heat: A warm washcloth applied to the affected area can help relax and reduce tension in overworked facial muscles.
- Avoiding excessive jaw movements: Certain activities such as chewing gum can strain the jaw muscles, resulting in overexertion.
- Eat soft foods: Avoiding hard, sticky, and chewy foods can help keep jaw movement to a minimum and give fatigued muscles a rest.
- Anti-inflammatory medications: Over-the-counter medications such as ibuprofen or naproxen can help eliminate pain and reduce swelling.
Call Us to Schedule a Consultation
If you are experiencing symptoms of TMJ disorder, schedule a visit with Dr. Turner to learn how he can help you achieve relief. By being proactive, you can avoid more serious problems and improve your quality of life. Call our office at (816) 229-1433, or contact us online to schedule your appointment.