TMJ Therapy Overview
The TMJ (temporomandibular joint) is the place where your lower jaw connects to your skull to enable you to open and close your jaw smoothly. Sometimes, the temporomandibular joint or supporting muscles become injured or damaged, causing a debilitating condition known as temporomandibular joint dysfunction or disorder (TMD). If you are experiencing discomfort or hearing noises when you open your jaw, schedule an appointment with qualified general dentists Dr. Richard Caron and Dr. John Kenney to determine if you have TMD. Our team at Tupelo Smiles Family and Cosmetic Dentistry uses advanced techniques to diagnose and care for TMD and help to alleviate painful symptoms. While your TMJ therapy will be based on the cause of your TMD and your specific condition, some of the treatment options available from our comprehensive Tupelo, MS practice includes oral appliances (night guards), Kois Deprogrammer appliances, bite adjustments, dental restorations, and more.
Best Candidates for TMJ Therapy
TMD might be caused by a single injury to the jaw, years of grinding your teeth and clenching your jaw (bruxism), or misalignment of the teeth (dental malocclusion), among other physical or environmental factors. Medical conditions that might lead to TMD include a tumor in the TMJ or arthritis. Sometimes, the cause of TMD is unclear, but if you are having symptoms, doctors Caron and Kenney can diagnose and care for your TMJ. The most typical symptoms of TMD are:
• Pain or tenderness around the jaw joint
• Spasms to tightness in facial, neck, or shoulder muscles
• Feeling like your jaw is rigid or locked
• Headaches that begin near your ears
• Popping, clicking, or cracking when moving the jaw
• Earaches or ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
What To Expect with TMJ Therapy
To help diagnose a temporomandibular dysfunction, doctors Caron or Kenney will carefully listen and understand your concerns before performing a physical exam. Throughout the exam, we will assess the movement of your jaw and look for signs of jaw clenching, teeth grinding, misalignment, and other contributing factors. Our team will also palpate the jaw joints and lower face to identify any swelling and tenderness. Depending on your unique condition, digital x-rays of your lower head along with an analysis of your bite may be completed to help determine your ideal therapy method. At Tupelo Smiles Family and Cosmetic Dentistry, we use an advanced diagnostic tool called the Kois Deprogrammer appliance to evaluate your bite and learn more about the potential causes of your TMD. Once we have a better understanding of your jaw condition, our team may recommend treatment options, like night guard therapy, palliative care, bite adjustment, orthodontics, or dental restorations, to improve your jaw function and comfort.
TMJ Therapy Follow-Up
Along with treatments to address the underlying cause of your temporomandibular joint dysfunction, doctors Caron or Kenney may recommend different means to relieve pain and other symptoms on your own. This may include eating softer foods, not biting your nails or chewing gum, applying moist heat or cold compresses on your jaw, and relaxation techniques. Specific exercises and stretches to strengthen your jaw or anti-inflammatory medication to relax your facial muscles (and to ease pain, anxiety, or inflammation) may also be suggested to help you find relief.
During and after your TMD care, it is important that you keep any suggested follow-up appointments so that we can assess the results from your TMJ treatment. Doctors Caron and Kenney will continue to monitor your jaw joint health during each of your yearly dental exams at Tupelo Smiles Family and Cosmetic Dentistry.
Advanced TMD Treatments
Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) pain can make it tough to eat, speak, and enjoy your day-to-day life. Since there is a wide range of possible causes, signs, and remedies to treat temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD), it is important to visit a Tupelo, MS dentist experienced in this type of care. Doctors Caron and Kenney are pleased to offer the latest in diagnostic and TMD care and can provide personalized care to help you find relief from jaw pain and discomfort. Contact our staff at Tupelo Smiles Family and Cosmetic Dentistry today to receive more information and to make your appointment.