adult man holding his jaw in painIf your jaw clicks or pops, if you have frequent headaches, if your jaw is tight, and you have trouble chewing some foods, you may have what is known as TMD or TMJ. TMD stands for temporomandibular joint disorder, while TMJ stands for temporomandibular joint. TMD and TMJ are used interchangeably to refer to the painful condition that millions of Americas suffer each day.

The good news is that there’s TMJ treatment in Des Moines, Iowa, so your days of suffering may soon be over. If you’re wondering if you’re a candidate for treatment for TMJ in Des Moines, the answer is most likely “yes.” The sooner you start exploring treatment options for TMJ, the sooner you will be on your way to less pain, more mobility in your jaw, and a better quality of life.

What is TMJ?

Simply speaking, TMJ is a difficult-to-diagnose medical condition that results from a jaw misalignment. If your upper and lower jaws and teeth do not line up properly in a resting position, then you have what is referred to as “malocclusion,” which is a misaligned bite. A TMJ dentist in Des Moines will be able to diagnose your TMJ and come up with a treatment plan just for you. Treatment for TMJ does not have to be painful. There are many different treatment modalities, and there will be one or a combination of some that will lessen your pain, muscle tension, jaw tightness, and headaches.

TMJ affects the jaw joints and surrounding muscles and ligaments in many cases. Your temporomandibular joints are located on each side of your face just in front of your ears. If your jaw clicks or pops while you eat, speak, or yawn, the sound is likely coming from your TMJ area. If you can’t open your mouth very wide, it’s likely your temporomandibular joint is compromised.

TMJ is often caused by trauma; some other causes include an improper bite, wear and tear of the teeth, and arthritis. People who grind their teeth often have TMJ; people who clench their teeth often have TMJ. TMD can even result in broken, cracked, or chipped teeth. The good news is that there are many ways a good cosmetic dentist or neuromuscular dentist in Des Moines, Iowa can fix all of those problems. TMD can be acute or chronic, and the pain associated with TMJ can range from mild to severe. The symptoms can be so severe that you are unable to enjoy eating, conversing, or sleeping.

TMJ Symptoms

The symptoms of TMJ are numerous and sometimes not even obviously connected. Headaches are one of the most often reported symptoms of temporomandibular joint disorder, and TMJ-related headaches can be really painful. Many people will say the pain of their TMJ headache feels like a migraine. Headaches and TMJ go hand in hand for many people. A skilled Des Moines neuromuscular dentist will perform a thorough evaluation of your head and face after taking a detailed medical history. Only then can a treatment plan be custom-made for you. Here are just some of the symptoms of TMD:

  • Jaw pain
  • Jaw tightness
  • Jaw popping or clicking
  • Jaw locking
  • Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
  • Difficulty chewing
  • Headache
  • Neck, shoulder pain
  • Tingling/numbness in fingers and fingertips
  • Inflammation around the TMJs
  • Tooth damage
  • Ear congestion (fullness)
  • Dizziness
  • Poor sleep
  • Depression
  • Irritability

TMJ Treatment in Des Moines

There are numerous ways to treat TMJ, and every treatment plan varies because each patient’s level of pain and other symptoms are different. Here are just some of the TMJ treatment options that have proven successful:

  • Application of moist heat or cold packs
  • Changing your diet to eat fewer chewy foods and more soft foods
  • Anti-inflammatory medications such as Ibuprofen or muscle relaxants
  • Oral appliance therapy (also known as a mouth guard or bite splint)
  • TENS (Transcutaneous Electric Nerve Stimulation)—little pulses of electricity will be sent directly to the affected area
  • Corrective dental procedures
  • Relaxation techniques
  • CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) for sleep apnea because sleep apnea is very closely related to TMD

If you’re looking for TMJ treatment in Des Moines, look no further than Des Moines neuromuscular dentist, Dr. Douglas Pick. Please call the office (515) 222-0505 to schedule a consultation or fill out an online appointment request form.