Temporomandibular joint disorders, often referred to collectively as TMJ, are issues with the jaw’s alignment and function. This can lead to debilitating symptoms, such as headaches, jaw pain, jaw locking, earaches, and difficulty chewing or swallowing. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you should consult your dentist as soon as possible. Here, Dr. Ami Barakat, a dentist serving Ottawa, ON, shares several plans your dentist may use to treat your TMJ.
TMJ is a muscular problem, but its complicated nature requires specialized treatment based on your specific symptoms. Transcutaneous Electrical Neural Stimulation, or TENS therapy, can be a beneficial option. In this process, mild electrical pulses are administered through a small device to relax jaw muscles, relieving tension and moving the jaw to a neutral position. This can provide pain relief for many patients.
Because TMJ is often linked with alignment issues in the jaw, orthodontics could be an appropriate solution for your symptoms. Braces can straighten crooked teeth and improve your bite. If your mouth is aligned, TMJ symptoms could be relieved. Invisalign, a treatment in which clear aligners are worn throughout the day for several weeks and straighten your teeth, could be a discreet alternative to metal braces. Orthodontic work has the added benefit of improving the appearance of your smile. A dentist can evaluate your teeth placement in a consultation to determine if orthodontics would be a helpful treatment for you.
TMJ can be caused by teeth clenching or grinding, called bruxism. This can happen unconsciously, especially if occurring while sleeping, so your dentist may recommend wearing a mouthguard at night. A mouthguard will protect your teeth and jaw from the pressure of grinding teeth.
Your dentist may also recommend exercise or other stress-relief activities to relieve tension that may cause you to clench your teeth. There are also jaw exercises that can relax muscles in affected areas. For pain relief, an ice pack wrapped in a towel or a heating pad can help. You can also eat softer foods to ease pressure on your jaw while chewing. Your dentist may recommend this at-home treatment method especially if symptoms are infrequent.
Treat TMJ in Ottawa, ON
Ottawa Orthodontics offers TMJ treatment and other restorative dentistry services for the Ottawa, ON region. Dr. Barakat also specializes in general and cosmetic dentistry. To schedule an appointment with us, contact our office online or by phone at 613.655.9966.