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The term “TMJ disorder” is used to describe issues with the temporomandibular joints. These joints are used to hinge your lower jaw to your upper jaw to the rest of your head. Problems in these areas are largely related to past injury inflammations caused by long-term habits such as grinding your teeth.

The beginning symptoms of TMJ disorder begin as a persistent and dull ache near your ears or temples. This includes pain when chewing food or opening your mouth in general. TMJ disorder is commonly found in patients who grind their teeth at night. It can, however, also be related to past injuries, like a dislocation or injury to the ball and socket joints. Arthritis has also been known to be a source of TMJ disorder.

The treatment options for TMJ disorder are dependent on the source of the problem. We at Midlothian Dental Arts recommend a two-step approach to treatment.

The first part involves switching the patient over to soft foods and also using heat packs to help alleviate pain due to muscle tension. If this proves ineffective, your physician will likely suggest more advanced treatment options.

If your TMJ disorder comes from grinding your teeth at night, you may be prescribed a teeth guard to help with the pain. Your dentist will make sure your mouthpiece is customized to your teeth in order to prevent it from slipping in order to reduce damage to your teeth and also reduce the tension in your jaw.

Wearing a mouthguard is often also coupled with rehab exercises to strengthen the jaw muscles, as well as the use of anti-inflammatory medications to relax the muscles and treat the inflammation.

If you have questions about treatment for TMJ disorder in Midlothian, Virginia, please call Midlothian Dental Arts at 804-419-5155 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Jeryl Abbott. The success of treatment for TMJ pain is largely dependent on an early diagnosis. Please call us today!