Problems with your bite can cause great discomfort. Allowing those issues to linger and not addressing them in a timely fashion, can lead to additional disruptions to your health. Millions suffer from TMJ Dysfunction (temporomandibular disorder). So, for the help you need with your TMJ issues, Dr. James Fondriest of Lake Forest Dental Arts in Chicago, IL, can assist.
Understanding TMJ Dysfunction
The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) connects the jawbone to the skull. There is one joint located on each side of the jaw. TMJ Dysfunction can cause discomfort, but more commonly pain that ranges from moderate to severe. Although the exact cause of TMJ disorder is often difficult to pinpoint, the pain may be due to a combination of factors. Some sufferers of TMJ disorder suffer from severe pain on a daily basis. That pain can also spread to the head, neck, and upper shoulders.
There is no doubt about it that TMJ is painful. Those who suffer from it can have tightness and sharp pain in their jaws. That pain can also extend all around the face. TMJ can also produce migraine headaches, headaches with “shooting” pain or headaches that have a “piercing” feeling.
Symptoms of TMJ Disorder
Some of the most common symptoms of TMJ disorder include:
- Tenderness in the jaw
- Pain in the jaw
- Swollen jaw and jaw areas
- Aching pain in or around the ear
- “Popping” or “clicking” sounds during the opening or closing of the mouth
- Inability to open the mouth without pain
- Pain around the facial area
- Shoulder Pain
- Blurred vision
- Dizziness or vertigo
- Mouth pain
- Teeth pain
- Ringing in the ears, commonly referred to as tinnitus
Causes of TMJ Disorder
TMJ Dysfunction has a multitude of causes with some of the most common being:
- Long-term clenching or grinding (bruxism) of the teeth
- Accident or injury to the jaw
- Arthritis or chronic stiffness or swelling
How is TMJ Dysfunction Diagnosed?
Diagnosis is an important step before the treatment of TMJ Disorder. While there is no widely accepted test or examination to correctly identify TMJ, Dr. Fondriest will thoroughly examine your mouth and jaw area to make a formidable conclusion about your TMJ disorder. Dr. Fondriest may also take x-rays and other digital images of your TM joints. He will also extend an opportunity for you to share your medical history so that a complete treatment regimen can be created.
Is TMJ Disorder Preventable?
Symptoms of TMJ syndrome can be episodic and traced to lifestyle. Prevention of TMJ disorder can be achieved by:
- Eating or consuming soft foods and beverages. Stop eating the foods that make it worse.
- Maintaining proper poster and sitting as well as standing erect
- Living as much of a stress-free life as possible
- Using dental apparatuses provided by your dentist
- Using the proper protection for your jaw while exercising or other highly physical activity
For the TMJ disorders that plague you, Dr. Fondriest will work with you to see what kinds of problems you face. Furthermore, he will develop a proper treatment that will alleviate your symptoms. For many people, relief will be achievable with the use of a special night guard that corrects your jaw strain. Dr. Fondriest will offer expert care if you have a problem due to your bite alignment. He will also help you find the right solution when you are affected by more significant problems due to TMJ disorder.
Home Remedies for TMJ Dysfunction
TMJ disorder can be treated with an array of home remedies that include:
- Ice packs or cold packs on the painful area
- OTC (over-the-counter) medications for pain
- Massages to the affected areas
- Essential oils that help diminish pain and aching
When Home Remedies Fail
When you have done what you can to alleviate your TMJ disorder at home and nothing seems to work, it is now time to call Dr. Fondriest at Lake Forest Dental Arts. He may recommend a variety of treatments or combination therapies for patients affected by TMJ disorder. Some of his treatments may include a dental apparatus or dental guard to reduce inflammation and relax the jaw muscles. For patients who have severe symptoms of TMJ disorder, he may use dental restorations and other procedures to alleviate the pain.
Using the Right Approach to Restoring Damaged Teeth
A common cause of TMJ Dysfunction is bruxism, or teeth grinding. After damage has occurred to teeth due to clenching or grinding, restorative care might be needed. If a tooth is no longer able to fully absorb biting and chewing pressures, a dental crown may be needed. Cosmetic bonding treatments may also help improve your smile without using a lab-made restoration to correct the effects of teeth clenching and grinding.
If TMJ Goes Untreated
Generally, we rarely think about our jaws until there is an issue with them. TMJ disorder happens to individuals from all walks of life, due to a variety of reasons. Having a healthy jaw is important and can help with a variety of functions.
Although not life-threatening, there are some serious consequences for letting your TMJ disorder go untreated. One of the most widely reported indicators of TMJ is jaw noise. While researchers of temporomandibular joint disorder focused on whether jaw clicking eventually translated to discomfort, scientists found that approximately 70 percent of patients who initially reported painless jaw noise later developed jaw pain. If left untreated additional forms of persistent discomfort can develop such as:
- Persistent neck and shoulder pain
- Constant ringing in the ears
- Severe headaches
TMJ disorder has also been linked to depression. Studies found that depression and anxiety were risk factors for TMJ. Additionally, due to its chronic nature, TMJ discomfort could gradually affect sleep, mood and other aspects of life, resulting in depression.
Do you have problems with TMJ Dysfunction?
Our goal is to have you fully recover from TMJ troubles. Dr. Fondriest understands that every case of TMJ disorder varies. That is why his approach to treating TMJ disorder will differ, depending on the patients. With a keen understanding of the latest advances in dentistry and TMJ, Dr. Fondriest provides sound therapy. So, for the TMJ disorder you have succumbed to, contact our practice for an appointment. We are proud to serve the Chicago metropolitan area, including the Northwest and North Shore suburbs. Connect with us online or call us by dialing 847-234-0517.