If you have pain caused by temporomandibular disorder, or TMD, you might notice clicking in your jaw, chronic pain that radiates around your jaw and teeth, unexplained headaches when you wake up in the morning and soreness or tightness in your jaw when you chew. TMD can be caused by stress, jaw misalignment or an overcrowded mouth.
The good news is you can successfully treat TMD, and TMD treatment often involves simple lifestyle changes or temporary appliances that will relieve your jaw pain. Schedule an appointment with your Atlanta-area dentist to evaluate your condition and to put together a treatment plan.
Depending on what is causing your temporomandibular joint pain, your TMD treatment may involve
- Wearing a mouth guard while you sleep: You can find dental mouth guards at any drug store or supermarket, and many can be submerged into hot water and formed to fit your mouth. Mouth guards prevent you from clenching or grinding your teeth while you sleep, which can lead to TMJ pain. Your dentist can also create a customized mouth guard that is specially molded to fit your mouth.
- Correcting jaw or dental misalignment: This may require orthodontics to change your bite, or your dentist may build up areas in your mouth to compensate for misalignment. This type of adjustment may correct an improper bite that could be causing your TMJ pain.
- Jaw surgery: Having jaw surgery may help correct TMD caused by a jaw that is too small, too large or misaligned, but is not always recommended by doctors and dentists. Jaw surgery is more invasive and may or may not always work.
- Botox injections: Some dentist or cosmetic surgeons have found that Botox injections around the temporomandibular joint is effective in treating TMJ pain. This is a more innovative treatment that is not widely used, and so not always available.
- Acupuncture treatments: Acupuncture is an alternative treatment for TMD that many people find is effective in treating jaw pain. Extremely fine, sterile needles are tapped into specific areas of your face, jaw and body to alleviate inflammation and pain around your temporomandibular joint.
It is always a good idea to have a thorough evaluation with your Atlanta-area dentist before starting any TMD treatment plan. Although TMD can be a chronic condition, finding the right treatment for you may improve or eliminate your pain.