Jaw pain, tension headaches, and facial soreness are some of the first symptoms you may notice if you are experiencing a TMJ disorder. TMJ disorders are any facial pain that is stemming from the temporomandibular joint of your jaw. This joint is the primary joint involved in performing daily tasks like chewing or speaking. Once it becomes injured or inflamed, it can cause many other uncomfortable symptoms that make it hard to focus on anything else. Dr. James Furgurson is a general dentist in Chapel Hill, NC with advanced training in the diagnosis and treatment of TMJ Disorders. He can help you come up with a plan to effectively treat your existing symptoms and prevent others from occurring in the future.
Symptoms of TMJ Disorders
In almost all cases, a TMJ related disorder will cause tooth wear and may contribute to tooth decay and/or (gum) disease. Many patients with TMJ disorders grind or clench their teeth due to an imbalance in the bite.
Common TMJ Symptoms include:
- Teeth grinding or clenching, often characterized by tooth wear
- Neck and shoulder pain
- Limited mobility in the jaw
- Clicking or popping when opening or closing jaw
Treatment for TMJ Disorder
Every patient who visits our Chapel Hill dentist office will receive a thorough evaluation of their dental health. This includes an evaluation of the teeth, gums and the temporomandibular joints (TMJ). Dr. Furgurson and Dr. White will look for any signs of malocclusion or dysfunction in your bite such as worn or damaged teeth. They will also discuss any discomfort or symptoms you may be experiencing that can indicate a TMJ related disorder.
Using 2-D and 3-D study models of your mouth, Dr. Furgurson can pinpoint the source of dysfunction and create a personalized treatment plan to bring your smile back into harmony. Each TMJ treatment plan that we offer is tailored specifically to your needs.
TMJ Treatment can include:
- Occlusal equilibration, making changes to the fit of the bite by reshaping and/or removing tooth structure
- Splint therapy
- TMJ mouthguard
TMJ therapy is often accompanied by restorative dentistry to repair worn teeth or damaged teeth.
My jaw hurts right now. What can I do?
If you are currently experiencing a flare up of jaw pain, our best advice is to schedule an appointment with us at your earliest convenience so that we can begin to figure out a longterm solution to your needs. Once you’ve done that, consider taking an over-the-counter pain medication like ibuprofen. Be mindful of any stress you are holding within your facial muscles and attempt to keep your jaw relaxed as much as possible. Avoid chewing gum or eating excessively crunchy foods until your jaw pain has gone away. Before bed, practice stress management techniques like breathing routines or meditation to help decrease the likelihood of you clenching your jaw together in your sleep.
Holding a cold compress to your jawbone can also help with pain management. It will also help reduce any inflammation surrounding your joints.