TMD/TMJ Treatment in McAllen, TX

TMJ/TMD Treatment in McAllen, TX

If opening and closing your mouth causes you pain, normal activities, such as speaking and eating, become extremely difficult. For people with TMJ/TMD, they know all too well how debilitating jaw pain can be. Living with TMJ/TMD can feel like a never-ending battle with inconvenient and sometimes chronic pain, but finding relief is possible. Here’s what you should know about TMJ treatment from the experts at Senan Orthodontic Studios.

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Overview of TMJ/TMD

TMJ refers to the temporomandibular joint that connects your jaw bone to the base of your skull. This joint moves back and forth to allow your jaw to move smoothly in every direction. Because this joint is used almost constantly throughout the day, temporomandibular joint disorders (TMD) are not uncommon and can contribute to discomfort in one’s jaw and the surrounding area that ranges from mild to severe.

Common Symptoms of TMJ/TMD Include:

  • Jaw pain, discomfort, or tenderness
  • Difficulty chewing, opening, or closing your mouth
  • Facial discomfort or swelling
  • Pain in or behind your ear
  • Clicking or popping noises when you move your jaw

While some TMJ/TMD symptoms may be mild, temporary, or eventually resolve on their own, it’s best to seek treatment from a medical or dental professional if you experience discomfort that is severe, long-lasting, or progresses over time.

What Causes TMJ/TMD?

TMJ/TMD can be caused by a number of factors, including:

  • Grinding or clenching your teeth
  • Head, neck, or jaw injury
  • Arthritis
  • Stress-induced jaw tightening

While TMJ/TMD may be an unavoidable condition for some people, particularly those with conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, there are steps others can take to reduce their chances of developing TMJ/TMD, including:

  • Wearing a mouth guard if you grind or clench your teeth
  • Avoiding foods that require a lot of chewing or biting inedible objects, such as ice
  • Chewing on both sides of your mouth 
  • Not putting pressure on your temporomandibular joint by resting your hand on your chin for long periods of time

TMJ Treatment

The good news is there are several TMJ/TMD treatment options available for people suffering from jaw pain. For many people, TMJ/TMD pain is managed and resolved at home by simply implementing certain lifestyle changes, such as eating soft foods, resting their jaw as much as possible, and alternating between ice and moist heat when TMJ/TMD symptoms occur.

Another effective way to treat TMJ/TMD pain is to diagnose and manage any other medical conditions that could be putting undue stress on the temporomandibular joint. For instance, if your TMJ/TMD pain is a result of arthritis, managing your arthritis will likely eliminate your jaw pain as well. Managing stress is also an effective approach to keep TMJ/TMD discomfort at bay for people who are prone to clenching their jaws in stressful situations. In some cases where the person’s temporomandibular joint is damaged, surgery may be necessary.

Non-Surgical Treatment Options for TMJ/TMD

Managing TMJ/TMD doesn’t always require surgery. Many patients find relief through non-surgical treatments, which can be effective in alleviating pain and improving jaw function. Physical therapy exercises designed to strengthen jaw muscles and improve mobility are often recommended. Medications, such as pain relievers, muscle relaxants, and anti-inflammatory drugs, can also help manage symptoms. Additionally, dental treatments like custom-made mouthguards can prevent teeth grinding and clenching, further reducing stress on the temporomandibular joint. Stress management techniques, such as relaxation exercises, are beneficial for patients whose TMJ/TMD is exacerbated by stress. These non-invasive methods can significantly improve quality of life for those suffering from TMJ/TMD.

Lifestyle Changes to Manage TMJ/TMD

Simple lifestyle changes can make a significant difference in managing TMJ/TMD symptoms. Eating softer foods and avoiding chewing gum or hard candies can reduce strain on your jaw. Incorporating regular jaw exercises and stretches can help maintain flexibility and strength in the jaw muscles. It’s also important to practice good posture, as slouching or poor neck alignment can exacerbate TMJ/TMD symptoms. Managing stress through relaxation techniques, such as yoga, meditation, or deep breathing exercises, can prevent jaw clenching. Additionally, using hot or cold compresses can provide immediate relief from pain and inflammation. These lifestyle adjustments can support other treatments and help you live more comfortably with TMJ/TMD.

What are the First Signs of TMJ/TMD I Should Look Out For?

Identifying the early signs of TMJ/TMD can lead to prompt treatment and better outcomes. Initial symptoms often include jaw pain or tenderness, especially in the morning or after chewing. You might notice difficulty or discomfort when opening or closing your mouth, and sometimes the jaw can even lock in place. Clicking, popping, or grating sounds when moving your jaw are also common early indicators. Some people experience pain around the ears, headaches, or facial swelling. If you detect any of these symptoms, it’s important to seek a professional evaluation to determine if TMJ/TMD is the cause and to discuss appropriate treatment options.

Senan Orthodontic Studios Can Help Treat Your TMJ/TMD

Everyone deserves to live a healthy, comfortable life without having to worry about if their jaw is going to lock up, make strange noises, or cause them pain. If you are suffering from the discomfort, inconvenience, and embarrassment that comes with TMJ/TMD, it’s important to seek professional orthodontic care sooner rather than later. The experienced team at Senan Orthodontic Studios can diagnose and help you find relief from jaw pain caused by TMJ/TMD quickly and easily. Are you interested in learning more about TMJ treatment? Contact our office to schedule your consultation and take the first step to regain your quality of life today!