Various dental issues develop silently, and most individuals only ever realize they need care when the symptoms become too much to bear. Other conditions remain undiagnosed, with pain coming and going. While it can be extremely frustrating to deal with, some dental conditions can be debilitating. Such problems include issues on the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), which is located between your lower jaw and skull. Here, muscles designed to move your lower jaw are affected, which then limits your ability to bite. 

You may experience popping and clicking, along with facial pain, headaches, and even damaged teeth. The only way to deal with TMJ disorders is to seek the help of a professional, as they can provide the right treatment plan and medication for your condition. 

While seeking the help of a practitioner is important, a little knowledge goes a long way. To learn more about TMJ, here is a quick guide for you:

What You Need to Know About TMJ Disorders 

Although highly challenging to deal with, your TMJ condition may be temporary. However, some cases escalate to bigger problems, which is why it’s important to seek professional help. If you’re unsure about the dental problem, however, here are the telltale signs you’re dealing with TMJ:

  • A presence of pain: Pain is an obvious symptom of a TMJ disorder, which is most felt when you move the jaw. The pain can also escalate to migraines and headaches, sometimes even reaching a back and earache. The pain needs to be traced back to the jaw area, however, as anything far from that may be a sign of another problem.
  • Popping or cracking sounds: The sounds are also common signs of TMJ disorders, but these are often painless. They click, pop, or grind during eating and talking. Although generally painless, these noises can only be deemed as TMJ signs if they are accompanied by slight pain from time to time, along with the limited movement. 
  • A limited movement: If you have TMJ, you’re likely suffering from limited movement. This prevents you from fully opening your mouth, especially when eating. Too much movement can cause pain and discomfort, thereby limiting your ability to speak and eat. 

Steps You Can Take 

Although TMJ can be debilitating, there are ways you can help alleviate the symptoms. The key is to become conscious of your daytime habits, particularly when it comes to eating. Experts suggest the following measures:

  • Avoid consuming chewy food, especially chewing gum.
  • If you’re dealing with facial pain, use moist heat to alleviate the problem.
  • Be conscious of your posture especially during work. 
  • Avoid sleeping in your stomach—if possible, try to sleep on your back at all times.
  • Try relaxation techniques to reduce tension and stress. 

What can a doctor do for you?

If these self-care strategies prove to be unhelpful, it’s time to seek the help of dentists. You’ll have access to a TMJ treatment care plan to help relieve pain and discomfort, such as splint therapy, muscle relaxers, and other methods. 

Enlisting the Help of a Professional 

Although most dental problems can be treated at home, other issues like TMJ need the help of a professional. TMJ disorders can greatly affect your life, as it limits your ability to speak and eat, and more often than not, causing you pain and discomfort. If you find yourself dealing with even more crippling symptoms, never hesitate to seek the help of a professional.

If you’re on the hunt for the best dentist in Chattanooga, Shallowford Family Dental Group is the place to go. We have been caring for patients since 1940, dedicated to ensuring optimal dental health with state-of-the-art facilities. Enjoy the expertise of dedicated doctors, along with an unparalleled patient care service. Book an appointment with us today.

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