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TMJ & TMD Treatment

A Smile for Life.

Why suffer?

You don’t have to live with pain.

If you are experiencing constant headaches, having trouble sleeping, or feel like your jaw muscles are stiff, you may be experiencing TMJ dysfunction.

TMJ dysfunction is a surprisingly common problem with adult Americans, and it affects somewhere between 5-12% of the American population at some point in their lives, according to the NIH. Despite its prevalence, not everyone is familiar with TMJ/TMD and their related issues.

Identifying the problem

What Is TMJ & TMD?

TMJ stands for “temporomandibular joint”. This joint connects right underneath your ear, and is primarily responsible for the movements of your jaw when you eat, speak, chew, smile, drink, and more.

TMD stands for “Temporomandibular joint dysfunction”, and refers to a variety of different issues involving the TMJ joint. However, most doctors and patients use the terms TMJ and TMD interchangeably.

TMJ issues occur when the TMJ ligament becomes inflamed, irritated, or is jostled out of position. This results in radiating pain, headaches, and a variety of other symptoms.

The Causes

What Causes TMJ?

TMJ can have several different causes. Here are some of the most common ones.

  • Teeth grinding (bruxism) – Teeth grinding is responsible for most TMJ cases. Teeth grinding occurs when the teeth are gnashed together repeatedly, usually during sleep. This causes the oral muscles to be overactive, including the TMJ, and can result in TMJ disorders.
  • Impact injuries – The TMJ can be damaged or knocked out of place by hard hits from contact sports, accidental slips and falls, or other impacts such as car accidents. In most cases, This results in TMJ dysfunction.
  • Arthritis – Both rheumatoid and osteoarthritis can cause a dysfunction of the TMJ joint.

TMJ has also been linked to sleep apnea by sleep researchers, but the exact relationship between the two is still unknown.


The Symptoms

What are the symptoms of TMJ?

TMJ can present itself with very different symptoms, depending on the patient. Here are a few of the most common symptoms you may experience.

  • Tenderness and pain in the jaw
  • Pain around one or both of the temporomandibular joints (located where your jaw connects directly in front of your ear)
  • Radiating facial pain and aches
  • Serious headaches and migraines
  • Difficulty chewing
  • “Locking” of the jaw when trying to speak, chew, or drink
  • “Clicking” sounds or grating sensations when you move your mouth

Some of these symptoms are rather mild, but others may have a serious effect on the quality of your life. If you are experiencing one or more of these symptoms, contact a TMJ dentist in Lafayette, such as Dr. James Martin, right away.



How Is TMJ Treated?

TMJ is usually treated with mouthguards. These mouthguards are similar to oral prostheses used to treat sleep apnea in Lafayette, and function to prevent bruxism. This keeps the jaw from locking and prevents the TMJ from being overstressed by teeth grinding.

Other treatments are also available for TMJ. Anti-inflammatory medication and pain medication can be enough to resolve some more minor TMJ disorders. These are not sustainable solutions are are often used in tandem with more permanent solutions.

In more severe cases of TMJ, corticosteroids can be injected directly into the joint to ease inflammation. Oral surgery can even be performed to release tension on the joint, and relieve TMJ symptoms, but this is extremely rare.


Suffering From TMJ Or Sleep Apnea In Lafayette? Come To Life Dentistry!

Dr. James Martin specializes in mouthguards in Lafayette. Whether you are suffering from TMJ or sleep apnea, he can design a custom mouthguard that will help correct your bite, and treat your disorder.

So don’t wait, and don’t suffer without Lafayette TMJ treatment. Take a look at the testimonials of some of our past patients, then schedule your appointment today at (970) 289-5433. You can also visit us in-person at 110 Old Laramie Trail E #100, Lafayette, CO 80026.

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