Skip to content

November: TMJ Awareness Month 2021

Do you have pain in your jaw, neck, or shoulders when you first wake up? Do you frequently experience pain in one or more teeth first thing in the morning? TMJ Awareness Month is observed every November. This month is dedicated to reminding people of the importance of the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) and to raising awareness of the illnesses that might affect it.

Disorders of the TMJ are quite often misdiagnosed, with the resulting symptoms being treated more often than the root cause of these same symptoms. When it comes to TMJ treatment in Bethlehem, GA, patients will find that working with their dentist is the best way to find the right solution.

What is the Temporomandibular Joint?

The temporomandibular joints are located on each side of your head. They connect your jawbone and skull and allow you the freedom of movement you have when you chew, speak, and laugh. Temporomandibular joint disorders (TMD) are quite common. They can become a concern at any age and can prove to be a chronic and painful condition for many. 

Jaw motion can become limited; there may be difficulty chewing and also speaking with clarity.

An Understanding of TMJ Disorders

Healthy temporomandibular joints allow your jaw to move freely, smoothly, and without discomfort. If one or both of the TMJs are injured or dysfunctional, you can experience a range of symptoms that could include tenderness in the jaw and face, recurrent headaches, and more.

Temporomandibular disorders can be the result of a number of concerns. Arthritis can lead to degrading of the cartilage that offers a cushioning effect for the jawbone in the socket. This can lead to discomfort.

Some of the other causes of a TMJ disorder may include the following:

  • Bruxism
  • Misalignment of the jaw
  • Impact-related damage to the joint or disc

An examination by your 80134 dentists can help to diagnose the underlying cause of your TMD. Any issues with the complex system of ligaments, muscles, bones, and discs that make up the TMJ can result in chronic pain. Some TMDs, however, develop without a clear underlying cause.

Recognizing the Symptoms of TMJ Disorders

For many, TMDs begin with hearing a clicking or popping sensation when they chew, speak, or open up their mouth. While these may be concerning or worrisome, they are typically painless in their early stages. Visiting Gentle Dental Group will be given the opportunity to speak about the symptoms that they are experiencing.

Some of the symptoms of TMD could include the following:

  • Stiffness or tightness in the muscles of the jaw
  • Pain that radiates to the jaw, face, and neck
  • Discomfort or tenderness around the ears
  • Discomfort or difficulty while eating
  • Chronic tension headaches
  • Locking in the jaw

These concerns can be more than just frustrating. They may result in pain that begins to interfere with your quality of life.

Treatment for TMJ Disorders

Your TMJ treatment will be determined by the diagnosed underlying causes of your TMD. The severity of your symptoms will also play into the treatment that works best for you. That said, the majority of temporomandibular joint disorders typically respond well to one or more care solutions. When you visit our dental office in Bethlehem, GA, we may recommend first trying conservative treatments.

This could include using ice packs applied directly to the TMJ. Alternating with a heat pack can help to give you substantial relief from the TMJ discomfort.

Making a few dietary changes can also have a positive impact, says Dr. Green, an emergency dentist in Parker, CO. Avoid foods that are crunchy or difficult to chew until the symptoms of your TMD ease up.

A custom-made oral appliance can be worn at night to offer protection for your teeth and provide protection against the discomfort from TMJ dysfunction.

Visit your Bethlehem, GA dentist, to discuss any discomfort or pain that you are experiencing. The sooner that concerns are identified and treated, the better the prognosis is. Neglecting concerns may have you racing to see us for emergency dental care in Bethlehem, GA. Gentle Dental Group is here to help you with all your dental needs.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in November 2020  and has been completely revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.