TMJ Treatment Dallas – Stop Suffering from Jaw Pain
The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates that nearly 10 million Americans suffer from some form of TMJ disorder. Although millions may be suffering from this painful condition, few people take note of its symptoms or seek treatment. Dr. Brock Lynn wants his patients to know that they don’t have to suffer from TMJ disorder. At his Dallas, Texas practice, he evaluates each patient thoroughly to identify his or her specific condition and provides treatment to eliminate pain and restore function to the mouth. If you believe that you may be suffering from TMJ disorder and would like to learn more about the treatment options available at Lynn Dental Care, contact our Dallas office today to schedule a consultation.
What is TMJ Disorder?
TMJ disorder is a painful condition that is caused by misalignment or damage to the temporomandibular joint, which is located on both sides of the lower jaw. The temporomandibular joint is largely responsible for the function of the mouth. Connecting the lower jaw to the skull, the TMJ allows individuals to open and close their mouth. Because this joint is used so frequently, TMJ disorder can cause mild to severe discomfort on a daily basis. While the exact causes of TMJ disorders vary from patient to patient, they are generally related to stress being placed on the joint. This can be caused by consistent clenching or grinding of the teeth, muscle tension, misalignment of the jaw, trauma to the area, or erosion of the cartilage due to conditions such as arthritis. Although not all jaw pain is an indication of TMJ disorder, persistent pain should be addressed as soon as possible. Some of the most common symptoms of TMJ disorder include:
- Jaw pain or stiffness
- Headaches, earaches, or neck pain
- A clicking or popping sound when opening the mouth
- Difficulty chewing
Diagnosing TMJ Disorder
For TMJ disorder to be accurately diagnosed, Dr. Lynn must first discuss your health and your history of jaw pain. Next an intra/extra oral exam is completed and if needed, a 3-dimensional image may be taken with our in-office cone beam scanner, the i-Cat. To obtain the most accurate information about patient jaw alignment and bite, Dr. Lynn uses the T-Scan® System, by Tekscan. This computerized bite analysis is more precise and useful than previous methods for determining bite occlusion, which involved messy, uncomfortable molds. Patients simply bite down on a sensor, and the T-Scan® System is able to graph bite force and timing. This information is invaluable when it comes to diagnosing and treating TMJ Disorder, and when performing dental procedures such as full mouth reconstructions.
How is TMJ Disorder Treated?
The type of treatment that patients receive will vary, based on the severity of the disorder.
After an examination, which may include digital X-rays and impressions, Dr. Lynn will prescribe an individualized treatment plan that takes both patient health and comfort into account. Some behavioral changes that Dr. Lynn may advise to alleviate symptoms of TMJ disorder include:
- Sleep lying on your back. This is important, as it allows your jaw to relax. A neck roll and small pillow behind your knees can make this more comfortable.
- Apply heat to the affected jaw at least twice daily, using an infrared lamp, heat pad, or warm, moist towel.
- A nutritious diet of soft foods is recommended. Avoid biting anything with your front teeth, or eating chewy foods.
- Limit your intake of caffeine and sugar, as these are nervous system stimulants.
- Take any medication that has been prescribed to you.
- Be careful not to clench your teeth. Remember this mantra: “Lips together, teeth apart.”
In addition to these recommendations for self-care, Dr. Lynn offers more advanced treatment options at his Dallas office for patients who suffer from TMJ pain. Patients may be fitted for an oral appliance, which will help ease stress on the joint. These appliances are worn at night to prevent patients from grinding their teeth during sleep. Dr. Lynn will also evaluate the condition and placement of the teeth, and may perform various dental procedures, such as replacing missing teeth, to correct a patient’s tooth alignment and bite. In the most serious of TMJ disorder cases, Dr. Lynn may advise patients to undergo oral surgery. While this is a last resort option, it can significantly reduce TMJ pain and prevent further damage to the temporomandibular joint.
More Information on TMJ Treatment
If you suffer from jaw pain, you know how debilitating it can be. Dr. Lynn offers complete oral health care and can help you gain a healthy, pain-free smile. If you think that you may be suffering from TMJ complications, it’s important to seek treatment as soon as possible. Contact our Dallas office today to schedule a consultation.