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What Is TMJ?

Temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ) affects the hinge joints in your jaw, causing pain and other uncomfortable symptoms. Fortunately, there's no need to live with TMJ pain. Your Denver, CO, dentist, Dr. Steven Wilk of the Center for Headache, TMJ, and Sleep Disorders offers treatments that will relieve your symptoms.

How TMJ causes pain

The hinge joints in your jaw make it possible to open and close your mouth and move it from side to side. The joints are located below your ears on either side of your face. Problems with the ligaments, muscles, bones, and discs in the jaw can cause TMJ symptoms.

It's not always possible to determine the cause of TMJ, but injuries, stress, teeth grinding, or bite problems can be factors and may cause joint damage, misalignments, muscle spasms, and inflammation.

Do you have TMJ symptoms?

If you have TMJ, you may experience one or more of these symptoms:

  • Jaw pain or tenderness
  • Trouble moving your jaw
  • Inability to open your jaw fully
  • Jaw stiffness
  • Temporary locking of your jaw
  • Clicking or popping sounds when you open or close your mouth
  • Facial swelling
  • Stiff shoulder and neck muscles
  • Changes in your bite, the way your teeth fit together
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Ear pain
  • Dizziness

One of these treatments may help your TMJ pain

During your visit to the Denver dental office, your dentist may recommend one or more of these treatments and strategies:

  • Stress Reduction Techniques: If stress is a contributing factor, trying yoga or biofeedback, practicing meditation, or taking time for a favorite activity can be helpful.
  • Botox Injections: Botox injections not only smooth wrinkles but may help ease TMJ pain. The injections reduce jaw tension and can be particularly helpful if you grind your teeth at night. Botox can reduce the intensity of the grinding, decreasing pain.
  • A Nightguard: Nightguards are oral appliances worn over your teeth while you sleep. The guards absorb strong biting forces, reducing stress on your jaw and teeth.
  • Trigger Point Treatments: Trigger points are hard knots that send pain shooting through your muscles. Injecting a combination of Botox and a local anesthetic into the knots can inactive them and reduce your TMJ pain.
  • Occlusal Splints: Also worn over your teeth at night, occlusal splints support your joints and keep your jaw properly positioned, decreasing stress and muscle tension.

Ease your TMJ pain with a visit to your dentist in Denver, CO, Dr. Steven Wilk. Call the Center for Headache, TMJ, and Sleep Disorders at (303) 758-4865 to schedule your appointment.

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