If you have been experiencing pain in your jaw, radiating headaches, or even loud, prolonged snoring, these can be signs of TMD/TMJ. Temporomandibular joint disorder can refer to a number of different disorders that affect the jaw which connects your jaw to your skull. If this joint is damaged or inflamed, it can cause a variety of painful symptoms.
The team at Harrisburg Smiles wants to make sure our patients are well-informed about the most common signs and symptoms and your options for at-home and clinical treatment:
The Most Common Signs And Symptoms Of TMD/TMJ
The only way to determine whether you have TMD/TMJ is to see a professional for a clinical diagnosis. If you experience these signs and symptoms, call us today to get a professional opinion:
- Clicking or grinding noises when moving your jaw
- Pain and tenderness in your jaw, particularly under your ear
- Aching, dull pain in your ear
- Difficulty chewing
- Locking of the joint, which may make it difficult to open and shut your mouth
- Radiating facial pain
- Snoring. TMJ/TMD can change the position of your jaw when you sleep, which can contribute to increased nighttime snoring
At-Home TMJ/TMD Exercises And Treatments
Some minor cases of TMJ/TMD can be resolved with simple at-home exercises and treatments, which strengthen the joint, and help provide pain relief. Here are a few exercises you can try on your own.
- Chin tucks – Tuck your chin in towards your neck, creating a “double chin.” Hold for three seconds, and repeat 10 times
- Goldfish exercise – Using your middle or pointer finger, pull your chin down until you feel resistance, but not pain. Repeat six times, and do this six times daily
- Resisted opening – Place your thumb under your chin. Push it gently by opening your mouth slowly. Hold for 3-6 seconds, then close your mouth slowly, and repeat up to 10 times
Beyond exercises, other home treatments like avoiding chewing gum, icing your TMJ, minimizing stress and teeth clenching, and using heat packs can help provide relief.
Clinical Treatment For TMJ/TMD – Understanding Your Options
If you have a more serious case, you may need TMD/TMJ treatment in Harrisburg from a professional, such as Dr. Kommineni or Dr. Cherukuri of Harrisburg Smiles. A few of the most common clinical treatments for TMJ/TMD include:
- Corticosteroid injections into the temporomandibular joint, to help it operate more smoothly
- A mouth guard or oral appliance to prevent teeth grinding and move the jaw into a more healthy position during sleep
- Muscle relaxants to help minimize clenching and pain in the joint
While surgery may be required in some severe cases, it’s very rare. Most cases of TMJ/TMD can be relieved without any surgical treatment.
Contact Us To Learn More About TMJ/TMD
If you think you have TMJ or TMD, we recommend that you come into Harrisburg Smiles right away. Our dentists have years of experience treating patients with TMJ and TMD and we can help you understand the root cause of your case. Contact us right away at (980) 258-0866, or stop by our office at 4310 Physicians Blvd, Harrisburg, NC 28075 to schedule an appointment if you’re in the area.