The Temporomandibular Joints are the two joints that connect the jawbone to the skull. Although different in construction, these joints function like the hips and knees in that the bones being moved are cushioned by cartilage. The upper ends of the jaw are further cushioned when they return to their normal position after chewing by a disc in each socket. When pain is felt in the muscles, face, mouth, or the actual joint, it may be the result of one or more Temporomandibular Disorders or TMD.
Causes of Pain Associated with TMD
The pain felt when one of these disorders is present may be due to arthritis, joint dislocation, an injury, stress that leads towards too much teeth grinding, and possible jaw and teeth alignment abnormalities. When pain is experienced in these areas, the most conservative approach would be to eat softer foods, use warm compresses, and try relaxation techniques to loosen the jaw and facial muscles.
Other Conservative Treatments
If the pain persists, visiting the dentist to get a thorough exam to see if there are any oral hygiene problems contributing to the pain can be a useful approach. They can listen for popping sounds that may indicate an alignment issue. They may prescribe an analgesic medication or try electric stimulation to relax the muscles, reducing some of the pain. Another noninvasive treatment would be to have a splint worn over the lower teeth to decrease grinding of the teeth, especially while sleeping.
These are some of the treatments that have met with success at Drs. Galligan and Villa Dental Studio for TMD problems in Staten Island. If the pain in your face and jaw still persist, make an appointment for an evaluation today and we can help you find relief.