Four Reasons to See A TMJ Specialist

Four Reasons to See A TMJ Specialist

Apr 01, 2021

We have a joint on both sides of the face that connects the jaw to the skull. The joint allows us to move the jaw when yawning, speaking, eating, or singing. However, certain factors can affect the jaw causing pain and tenderness. This makes it hard for you to perform these activities.

Furthermore, without proper treatment, it may be difficult to move or open the jaw and you’ll need to visit an emergency dentist near you for treatment.

TMJ disorder, in mild cases, can be handled at home. However, there are times you may need to visit a TMJ dentist near you for proper assessment and treatment. In this post, we highlight some of the signs that you need professional treatment for TMJ.

Who is A TMJ Specialist?

When you visit a doctor with a jaw problem, he/she may refer you to an ENT specialist or a dentist for a diagnosis. A TMJ specialist is a dentist or doctor who specializes in diagnosing and treating diseases of the oral cavity.

When should you visit one?

1. Frequent migraines 
If you have frequent migraines that don’t clear after resting, then it is an indication of a serious problem. Remember, migraines rarely occur without a cause, but are triggered by several issues like stress, hormonal imbalance, and lack of adequate sleep. You can take pain-relieving medications to ease the pain. However, if the migraines are intense and occur mostly in the morning after you wake up, it may be a sign of jaw damage

Frequent migraines are one of the common symptoms of TMJ disorder.

2. Clicking Sound on the Jaw
TMJ disorder makes it hard for you to open your jaw properly. In most cases, it causes the jaw to produce a clicking sound when you try to open them.

Yes, jaw cracking or clicking can occur when you open your mouth wider than normal. But, if this popping sound is accompanied by pain, then it is a sign of TMD.

3. You Have Worn out or Cracked Teeth 
Bruxism or grinding and clenching of the teeth is one of the causes of TMJ. The constant grinding can cause the teeth to wear out or crack.

Also, when you have misaligned jaws (the upper and lower jaw don’t touch properly), it puts pressure on the teeth causing them to wear out and crack.

It is important to visit a Tacoma dentist for assessment because the jaw imbalance puts pressure on the jaw and also causes TMD.

4. Pain on the Jaw and Neck 
Jaw swelling and damage can cause pain that extends from the jaw to the neck. You may also have pain on the shoulders, eye region, and sinuses.

Although pain medication may ease the pain, it is important to visit our dentist for assessment and treatment.

Other Symptoms to Watch out For

You may also experience tender muscles, ear pain, aching facial muscles, difficulty chewing and locking of the joint.

What Can You Expect at Your Appointment?

Your TMJ dentist in 98409 will discuss the symptoms and assess the jaw. The dentist may touch the jaw to feel it when you open and close your mouth. An x-ray is done to further examine the teeth and jaw. At times, CT scan and MRI is done to provide detailed images of the bone and also reveal any problems with the joints or surrounding tissues.

What Treatment is Used?

The treatment used will depend on the severity of the TMD. Mild cases do not need treatment. But, the dentist in Tacoma may recommend one or more of the following treatments:

  • Medications like anti-inflammatories, muscle relaxants, and anti-depressants. The anti-depressants in low doses can help to control bruxism.
  • Oral splint and mouthguard
  • Physical therapy and exercises
  • Moist and heat therapies

Surgery may be done if these treatments do not work to relieve the pain. The primary goal of the surgical procedure is to correct the jaw and the disc.

Schedule an Appointment

Visit Tacoma Family Dentistry & TMJ/Sleep Apnea for assessment and treatment if you have any of the symptoms mentioned above.

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