According to some estimates, TMJ disorder is so common that up to forty million adults in the United States are affected by it. Perhaps you worry that you’re at risk, as well. Jaw pain may have you asking: “is there any reliable TMJ treatment near me?” or, “do mouthguards or night guards help treat TMJ pain?”
Although “TMJ” is actually the joint on either side of your mandible (where your jaw connects just in front of your ears), “TMD” or “TMJD” are the clinical terms used to describe the painful condition known as TMJ disorder.
Determining the Cause of TMJ Disorder
Your TMJ (also known as your temporomandibular joint) is a complex joint that’s responsible for helping you breathe, speak, laugh, yawn, and chew in comfort. You may take it for granted until it suddenly starts popping, clicking, hurting, or locking up.
Some people have TMJ pain that flares up suddenly, coming and going when they least expect it. Others are able to pinpoint the exact cause when extra pressure is applied from clenching or chewing.
Some causes of TMJ dysfunction (TMD/TMJD) can include:
- A habit of grinding or clenching your teeth (bruxism)
- Trauma to your jaw
- Poor bite alignment
- Disease in the tissues of the joint
- Sleep Apnea
It can be difficult to determine the exact cause behind your jaw pain. That’s why you need the help of an experienced TMJ treatment provider to diagnose the problem. Understanding the cause of TMJ disorder is the first step to treating it effectively (and quickly.)
What should you look for in a TMJ dentist in Ventura?
Experience, Knowledge, Compassion
Identifying the cause of your jaw pain can be a lengthy process, but it’s easier when you have a compassionate family dentist helping you along. Not just any dentist can treat your jaw pain, however. You need the help of a professional with extensive knowledge and years of well-rounded experience.
Believe it or not, the best treatment for your TMJ disorder is usually non-invasive and non-surgical! Having an experienced Ventura dentist on your side can give you the peace of mind you need.
This is important because TMJ problems are often closely linked with other issues. For example, TMJ disorder can be connected to sleep apnea. A poorly-aligned jaw can cause the tongue and throat tissues to relax and block the airways, leading to a lack of oxygen.
As sleep apnea flares up, so do your symptoms of TMJ disorder (such as jaw pain and headaches.)
On the other hand, there’s also some evidence to suggest that devices used to treat sleep apnea can cause TMJ pain. Splints and masks that hold the jaw in one position can put tension on the joint.
But on the other hand, mouthguards used for treating TMJ – which differ from those used for sleep apnea – can help to correct your painful symptoms. The key is to work with an experienced dentist who understands your signs and symptoms to help you find the best solution.
Clearly, it’s best to have a Ventura TMJ dentist who can treat both conditions to ensure that all of your oral health needs are met in a balanced way. Both sleep apnea and TMD are closely related, but having a professional who can identify them correctly could actually save your life.
Treating TMJ at Home
If your jaw pain is severe enough, then you can’t just ignore it while you search for TMJ treatment.
It’s very possible that your jaw pain and headaches will worsen, or you may even experience a limited range of movement in your jaws (making it harder to eat or laugh.)
You can start to get some relief by finding ways to rest your jaw. If you’re in the habit of chewing gum or biting your nails, try to quit. Eat soup, ice cream, Jello, and pudding to give your joint a break from chewing on tough foods.
Your TMJ therapy may also include applying a warm moist washcloth to your jaw to soothe tension. An over-the-counter painkiller such as ibuprofen (an anti-inflammatory) may also help. Try some gentle exercises that loosen your jaw without straining it.
After trying these steps, it may be time to seek TMJ treatment near you. DIY TMJ treatments sometimes work, but if they don’t, you’ll need to seek input from a dentist.
TMJ Dentist in Ventura
Do you live in Ventura or the surrounding area? Is TMJ pain a constant feature in your life?
If you’re waking up with headaches, have trouble eating during the day, or feel your jaw getting stiff and sore from time to time, it could be due to TMD.
Happily, TMJ treatment and advice is available near you.
For the best TMJ treatment in Ventura, contact Dr. David Satnick DMD. Dr. Satnick and our team specialize in both sleep apnea and TMJ treatments so that you get the most balanced and comprehensive treatment possible.