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A Day In The Life Of Someone With TMJ

October 1st, 2017 |
In Blog |
by Galleria of Smiles
young woman with wisdom tooth pain

TMJ, also referred to as TMD, is a temporomandibular joint disorder characterized by pain or discomfort in your jaw and the surrounding area. The condition can affect just one side or both. TMJ can make it difficult for you to speak, swallow, chew, and make facial expressions.

Dr. M. Emami, Dr. Justin Emami, and the experienced and friendly staff at Galleria of Smiles in Sand Springs, OK are prepared to help diagnose and treat your TMJ, so you can get back to everyday activities as soon as possible.

Unfortunately, TMJ can affect more than just your mouth and face. Most patients with TMJ also experience conditions like chronic headaches, chronic fatigue syndrome, irritable bowel syndrome, sleep disorders, and more.

TMJ is a complex disorder that specialists are continuing to learn more about every day. There can be multiple causes of the disorder, or there may not be an obvious cause. The known causes of TMJ include:

  • Infection
  • Autoimmune disease
  • Injury to the jaw area
  • Arthritis
  • Teeth grinding

Symptoms Of TMJ

You may find that TMJ feels like a dull, aching pain that comes and goes. Or you may not experience any pain at all but have trouble moving your jaw.

If you experience any of the following symptoms, you could have TMJ:

  • Jaw pain
  • Shoulder and neck pain
  • Chronic headaches
  • Limited jaw movement or “lock-jaw”
  • Jaw muscle stiffness
  • Pain, pressure, fullness, or ringing in your ears
  • Painful popping or clicking in the jaw joint when you open or close your mouth
  • Dizziness
  • Vision problems

Note that occasional clicking or discomfort in your jaw is common and not necessarily cause for concern. However, if the pain is severe and lasts for more than a couple weeks, let us know.

To get a better idea of what it’s really like to have TMJ, take a look at what a day with TMJ looks like.

A Day In The Life Of Someone With TMJ

Sleep? What’s that? You’re awake long before the sun comes up. You sit in your kitchen and sip coffee because the thought of trying to eat breakfast makes your jaw hurt even more. As you drive to work, you feel the tension in your neck and shoulders getting worse. It’s as if no amount of stretching can give you relief so you take your usual over-the-counter pain medicine to try to cope.

You struggle through the work day, battling a headache, ringing in your ears, and constant discomfort in your jaw. You carefully slurp some soup for lunch. Your headache begins to turn into a migraine and you have to ask your boss if you can leave early yet again. His frustration is clear.

After you climb into your car, you take some more pain medicine, hoping you can make it home before the tension in your neck and shoulders gets too bad.

Once you get home, you can hardly muster up the energy to do anything except lay in bed. You slurp some more soup for dinner and try to lift your mood with some ice cream for dessert. Once again, you head to bed early, preparing yourself to do it all again the next day.

TMJ Treatment

A day like that sounds miserable, but it’s the reality for patients with untreated TMJ. At Galleria of Smiles, we offer several treatment options for TMJ. When you come in for a consultation, we can determine which treatment will work best for you.

Orthodontic TMJ Treatment

At our Sand Springs, OK dental office, we can use orthodontics to fix your bite and potentially relieve symptoms of TMJ. If your bite is off, it can put extra stress on the joint. Orthodontics at Galleria of Smiles can help fix your bite and relieve symptoms.

TENS Treatment

For our patients who are suffering from the pain and discomfort of TMJ, we offer the J5 TENS unit and K7 system. The J5 Myomonitor TENS unit uses gentle electrical pulses to relax the muscles in your jaw. This massage-type treatment allows us to use the K7 system to find your jaw’s right natural position. We can then make you an oral appliance to treat your symptoms.

Night Guard

Most of the strain you put on your jaw happens while you sleep. You could be grinding your teeth or clenching your jaw without even realizing it. That pressure can cause tooth fractures and other dental problems. A night guard can properly align your jaw while reducing grinding, clenching, and other uncomfortable symptoms.

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