3 Steps for Dealing with TMJ Pain

Grand Rapids, MI TMJ Dentists

The forces exerted on your teeth and jaws from teeth grinding can cause a TMJ disorder. The TMJ (temporomandibular joint) is the hinge that connects your lower jaw to your skull.

If you frequently wake up with jaw or TMJ pain, our TMJ dentists in Grand Rapids, MI are ready to help! Continue reading to learn the 3 steps for dealing with TMJ pain.

1. Know What Causes TMJ Pain

Depending on your patient history, it may be difficult for our dentists to identify the exact cause of your TMJ pain. There are many different factors which affect the TMJ or cause TMJ disorder to worsen. For example, patients who have recently sustained an injury to the jaw joint are at an increased risk for TMJ disorder.

You may also be experiencing TMJ disorder because of teeth grinding or even arthritis. Osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis can especially affect the TMJ because they cause joint inflammation and stiffness. Since there are many causes of TMJ disorder, it can be difficult determining why you’re experiencing jaw pain.

2. Recognize the Symptoms

Common TMJ symptoms include:

  • Tinnitus
  • Headaches
  • Toothaches
  • Neck aches
  • Jaw pain
  • Clicking jaw joint
  • Facial tenderness or pain

Not sure if what you’re experiencing is due to TMJ disorder? If you recognize any of these symptoms in yourself, we recommend seeing one of our TMJ dentists. They will be able to examine your teeth and take dental x-rays to see if there are any problems with your jaw joint.

3. Seek TMJ Treatment

Most patients are able to continue living productive lives by properly managing TMJ symptoms. However, if you have severe symptoms that interfere with your quality of life or notice a worsening of symptoms, you may need surgical intervention.

In that case, you would need to consult with your primary care physician to determine if TMJ surgery is the best treatment option to alleviate your symptoms. Surgery is a last-resort option after other pain management tactics have failed.

One of our dentists will be able to recommend a TMJ treatment plan that works for your unique circumstances. For example, if nighttime teeth grinding is the root cause of your TMJ disorder, you may be given a night guard for TMJ. A TMJ night guard forms a protective layer between your upper and lower teeth while you sleep, preventing bruxism.

If you’ve cracked or chipped a tooth from bruxism, check out our blog post on what a dental emergency is. Also, remember that it’s never too late to restore the appearance of your smile (even after years of grinding teeth). Check out our blog post on the 6 ways cosmetic dentistry can improve your smile.

Call Our Office Today!

The vast majority of people living with TMJ disorder are able to manage the symptoms and pain so they can continue living normal lives. Dr. Samuel Bander and Dr. Travis Mattson are TMJ dentists in Grand Rapids, MI. To request an appointment, call the Bander Dental Group at (616) 949-5980.