While brushing and flossing can keep your teeth clean, visiting a family dentist every six months is a must. Even if your teeth look healthy, there can be serious conditions that go unnoticed. Only a dentist can find them during a professional cleaning and examination.When it comes to your family, this care is even more…
Why You Should Visit a TMJ Dentist
Are you experiencing TMJ pain and trying to find out more about how a TMJ dentist could help? According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, there are an estimated 10 million Americans that are affected by TMJ disorders. The interesting thing about TMJ disorders is that dentists and scientists do not know exactly what causes them.
Let’s start by answering the question: What exactly is a TMJ disorder? TMJ refers to the temporomandibular joints, which are part of your jaw and are located on either side of your face. If you feel the area right in front of your ears, it is the point where your jaw connects to your skull. Therefore, TMJ disorders are issues that affect your temporomandibular joints.
For some people, the pain associated with TMJ disorders eventually goes away with little or no treatment, but for many others, seeing a TMJ dentist will be a good idea.
Signs and symptoms of TMJ disorders
TMJ disorders are generally considered hard to detect because other dental problems, such as tooth decay or gum disease, can cause similar symptoms. However, there are several signs that can help determine if you are suffering from a TMJ disorder:
- Pain in or around your jaw, face or neck
- Jaw or neck muscle stiffness
- Limited movement or locking of your jaw
- Painful popping, clicking or grating sound when you open and close your mouth
How a TMJ dentist can help
As mentioned before, TMJ disorders can be very hard to detect, diagnose and treat correctly. With symptoms mirroring other problems such as tooth or gum infections, arthritis, headache or ear infections, it is very easy to get misdiagnosed. This is why a dentist who specializes in TMJ may be the best option for you.
When seeing a TMJ dentist, you are likely to get a more accurate diagnosis which can lead to faster treatments. An added bonus is that you may even end up saving money if you need to make fewer visits with less trial and error to find the treatment that helps best.
TMJ dentists will also be able to offer the latest diagnostic tools available, which can make a huge difference in receiving the correct diagnosis and effective treatment.
While you wait for your appointment with a TMJ dentist, there are several things your dentist may recommend to help relieve the pain and discomfort you are feeling.
- Apply cold packs to reduce swelling and numb the area
- Alternate the cold with moist heat to relax the muscles
- Eat soft foods
- Practice exercises to gently stretch and relax your jaw
- Avoid extreme jaw movements or hard chewing
- Use over-the-counter pain relievers, if necessary
The bottom line
If you are suffering from prolonged pain in your face or jaw, it is probably time to visit a TMJ dentist. This ensures that you are being cared for with the most up-to-date tools and knowledge. With the right kind of care, you could be well on your way to getting your normal, pain-free life back.
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