Get relief from TMJ pain with effective treatment at your Manhattan Beach dentist’s office
Temporomandibular Joint Disorders (TMJDs) are quite literally a pain in the head. But these and other symptoms are not all “in your head.” The National Institutes of Health (NIH) reports the prevalence of TMJD/TMD symptoms ranges from 40 percent to 60 percent among the general population. Furthermore, the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research characterizes TMD as any one (or combination) of the following:
- Pain and inflammation in the body’s soft facial tissues
- Damage or injury to parts of the jaw
- Wear and tear on the TM Joint, due to conditions such as arthritis
You deserve to get relief from TMJ at Manhattan Beach Dental Solutions.Too often, only TMD symptoms are treated. The TMD itself isn’t treated. For instance, tinnitus or ringing in the ears is commonly listed as a sign of TMJ problems. However, if only the tinnitus is treated with masking devices or other approaches, the TMD still persists. You aren’t getting to the root of the problem. Likewise, headaches are often associated with TMDs. Many headaches have triggers. If you avoid only those suspected headache triggers, and don’t address the TMD, pain persists.
There are telltale signs that TMJ dysfunction may be at the heart of your pain. These signs include some of the problems listed above (ringing in the ears, headaches) as well as:
- Radiating facial pain that may spread to the neck, shoulders, and back
- Noisy jaw; you hear a popping or clicking sound when you open or close your mouth
- Jaw stiffness; for example, the jaw may “lock” or “get stuck” in a wide-open or closed position
- Finger numbness and tingling
As dentist, Dr. Don Mungcal may also see signs of excessive wear and tear on the teeth. Bruxism or teeth-grinding is linked to TMJ problems. Excessive clenching of the teeth can place excessive pressure on the TM joint and surrounding tissues. Additionally, bruxism damages natural teeth and restorations. There are many options available at the dentist’s office to prevent and manage TMD pain and other symptoms. These options include oral appliances or nightguards, which help to ease stress on the jaw, and protect the teeth from chips, fractures, and other damage caused by bruxing.
Worn dental restorations, misalignment, and bite problems can also stress the joint and its many interconnected components. So, our dentists may recommend restorative or orthodontic treatment.
At Manhattan Beach Dental Solutions, we generally suggest the easiest, most conservative treatment first. That suggestion could be something as seemingly simple as avoiding sticky, chewy foods, ice, and gum (potential contributors to muscle tension). We can show you jaw exercises. These techniques stretch and strengthen sore muscles.
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It’s also important to keep your stress in check. Be conscious of how emotions like anxiety and frustration affect your muscles. Breathing and relaxation exercises like mediation and yoga lift muscle tension. Patients whose symptoms aren’t resolved adequately with the above options may benefit from:
- Trigger point injections – A numbing medication or steroid is injected into precise points to relieve pain.
- Cold laser therapy – Also known as low-level laser therapy, light-based energy is delivered to target areas to trigger healing and release tight joint tissue.
- Electro-therapeutic point stimulation – A low-frequency direct current is delivered to acupuncture points and contracted muscle bands for pain relief.
A single approach or a mix of approaches can make a dramatic difference in the frequency and severity of your pain and symptoms. Treatments are as diverse as the signs of TMJDs. So, we will need to evaluate you. From there, we can determine the best conservative methods for you to try first.
Call 310-340-6663 to schedule your evaluation.