TMJ/TMD Treatment For Jaw Pain

Place your hands on either side of your face. Slowly open your mouth. Did you feel a slight pop, lock, or tenderness? If so, you might have a TMJ disorder. Don’t worry. You’re not alone. In fact, the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research reports that 11 to 12 million people suffer from this condition in the United States. Fortunately, Dr. Nikhaar Keshwani can easily treat this common condition through conservative methods.

TMJ &TMD Defined

What is TMJ? What is TMD? Is there a difference between these phrases? Even though “TMJ” and “TMD” are used interchangeably, they are two separate terms:

  • TMJ stands for “temporomandibular joint.” This is the hinge-like joint on either side of the face that connects the lower jaws to the skull. These unique joints help humans open and close their mouths, allowing for speaking, eating, and other daily functions.
  • TMD is short for “temporomandibular joint dysfunction.” TMJ disorder refers to the troubles in the temporomandibular joints, jaw muscles, and nerves associated with chronic facial pain.

TMJ Disorder Causes

The exact cause of TMD differs from person to person, but some common causes of TMJ disorder include (but are not limited to):

  • Bruxism (habitual teeth grinding and jaw clenching)
  • Arthritis
  • Worn down joints
  • Malocclusion (bad bite)
  • Dislocation
  • Acute trauma
  • Congenital health problems

TMJ Symptoms

TMJ disorder looks different in every person, but some tell-tale symptoms of TMJ include:

  • Jaw, neck, shoulder, and tooth pain
  • Tension headaches and earaches
  • Immobility or difficulty opening the mouth
  • Facial soreness
  • Swelling on one side of the face

TMJ Treatment

There’s no one-size-fits-all method for managing and curing TMJ disorder. Still, most oral health professionals agree that TMJ treatment should start as a conservative, nonsurgical therapy. For instance, at first, Dr. Keshwani might suggest:

  • Some simple TMJ exercises
  • Eating soft foods
  • Taking NSAIDs

Also, our family dentist can prescribe a custom-fit TMJ mouth guard to wear at night. Dr. Keshwani designs dental night guards to fit over the upper or lower teeth. When worn correctly, mouthguards stabilize tooth contacts and force the jaw into a more favorable position. If misalignment is the issue, she might suggest corrective dental treatments, such as dental bridge, dental implant, or orthodontic treatment.

After all other treatment options have been exhausted, Dr. Keshwani might refer you to a specialist for TMJ surgery.

Will TMD go away on its own?

In specific scenarios, TMJ pain can go away on its own. For example, if your TMD is triggered by stress, it might go away on its own once the stress subsides. However, if your TMJ is due to jaw problems or dental misalignment, then it’s likely that your symptoms will worsen without treatment.

 

Furthermore, ignoring temporomandibular joint dysfunction can lead to further problems, like tooth erosion, inflamed joints, and other health issues. Thus, it’s crucial to speak to a family dentist as soon as possible if you notice the symptoms of TMJ disorder.

Start Conservative Treatment for Jaw Pain in San Antonio

Although TMJ is not a life-threatening condition, many people find that TMJ treatment is worth it. Call 210-732-3333 or message Babcock Family Dental to schedule treatment for TMD.