Robert E. Lane, DMD, PA
Cosmetic & General Dentist located in Boca Raton, FL
When you have TMJ problems, pain becomes a daily or perpetual occurrence. Luckily, these issues can be helped. Robert E. Lane DMD, PA is pleased to provide effective diagnostic and treatment options for people experiencing temporomandibular joint disorder symptoms in Boca Raton, Delray Beach, and Deerfield Beach, Florida. To get on the path to greater comfort, book an appointment by calling Lane Dental or using the online scheduler.
TMJ Treatment Q & A
What is TMJ?
The TMJ is your temporomandibular joint, which connects your jaw to the temple bones of your skull, just in front of each ear. It allows you to move your jaw freely, playing a major role in everyday activities such as chewing, talking, and yawning.
What is TMD?
Chronic pain or aching in your TMJ area, including the muscles your face uses to control it, are known as temporomandibular disorders, or TMD. While the cause of TMD isn’t always clear, dentists believe symptoms stem from problems with the muscles or joint.
TMD can also come from:
- Arthritis in the TMJ
- Frequently clenching or grinding your teeth
- Movement of the disk or cushion between the ball and socket of the TMJ
- Emotional stress, if it leads you to clench your teeth or tighten your facial and jaw muscles
What are the symptoms of TMD?
In addition to pain TMJ problems can cause, you may also experience:
- Clicking, popping, or grinding sounds in the joint when you talk or chew
- Difficulty opening your mouth fully
- Difficulty chewing
- Lock jaw, in which your jaw gets stuck open or closed
- Neck aches
- Ringing in your ears
- Swelling on the sides of your face
- Tiredness in your face
- Upper shoulder aches
How is TMD treated?
A variety of options can help minimize TMJ-related discomfort, including:
- Wearing a splint or nightguard
- Applying old or heat packs
- Dental work to correct bite problems
- Eating soft and bite-size foods
- Limiting intense jaw movements, such as chewing gum or yawning
- Over-the-counter medications, such as ibuprofen or naproxen
- Prescription medications
- Relaxation techniques, such as massage or physical therapy
How can a splint or night guard help TMD symptoms?
Splints and nightguards are plastic mouthpieces you wear over your teeth that keep your upper and lower teeth from touching. They can help manage TMD by reducing the effects of clenching or grinding, and can even correct an uneven bite.
The difference in these devices depends on how long you need to wear them for. If you only need to wear something at night, choose a nightguard to stop grinding your teeth while you sleep. If you need support during the day as well, a splint may be a better option. Dr. Lane will help you choose the best treatment for your needs.