Fight Back Against TMJ Disorders

You can’t believe it’s happening again. This is the third morning this week that you’ve woken up with a serious headache. How many times has this happened in the past month?

It’s more times than you can recall and definitely more often than it should.

You take pain relievers more often than you would like, but you have to get through the morning at work one way or another. You just wish you could find a way to stop the headaches from being a near-daily occurrence.

What if we told you that your headaches may be the result of a problem with your jaw? You could have a TMJ problem or a TMJ disorder. If you do, then Lloyd F. Moss Jr., D.D.S., & Lloyd F. Moss III, D.D.S., want to help, especially if you live in or near their dentist office in Fredericksburg, VA.

Self-Treatment Options

TMJ problems are more common than you may realize. They affect millions of Americans every month, and many times the problems are temporary.

The TMJ Association actually recommends home remedies before seeking professional help.

Your treatment may depend on the symptoms you are experiencing. TMJ is an abbreviation for temporomandibular joint. You actually have two of these joints, which connect your lower jaw to your skull. The joint is located near your ears. You can feel them by placing your fingers below your ears and opening and closing your mouth.

You may be suffering from one or more symptoms due to your TMJ problem, although there are solutions for each of them.

If you are suffering from headaches or earaches, over-the-counter medicine can alleviate the pain. Some people experience facial, neck, shoulder, and back pain as well.

If you are having jaw pain, particularly while eating or after you have finished a meal, then the TMJ Association recommends eating softer foods temporarily. This can sometimes alleviate the pain.

Two other ways to cope with pain are moist heat and ice or cold packs. Moist heat also can help if you are having issues with jaw mobility, such as not being able to open or close your jaw completely. Cold packs can numb the pain and reduce swelling around your TMJ.

Stress can contribute to TMJ issues as well. Sometimes finding a way to manage your stress ease the problem. Stress relievers can vary from person to person, but they could include therapy, massages, breathing exercises, and exercise.

If your TMJ symptoms persist despite your self-treatment efforts or they recur when you stop your treatments, then you should contact our office to see how we could help.

Addressing TMJ Disorders

TMJ disorders can arise from problems with the joint itself or the muscles that surround the joint.

The causes may include arthritis, illnesses, alignment problems, and bruxism, which is clenching or grinding your teeth. If you visit our office, we will examine your jaw and teeth alignment to see if that might be a contributing factor to your condition. We will check for signs of teeth grinding as well.

Grinding and clenching your teeth may be a subconscious way you are coping with stress. Many people do this without realizing it, and millions of Americans clench their teeth in their sleep.

It’s not uncommon for sleep grinders to put 500 pounds of pressure or more on their jaw, which is more than double the average bite force that people generate. If you are clenching and grinding in your sleep, then you could be doing this for hours at a time.

If you have noticed that your TMJ symptoms are worse or occur frequently in the mornings, this could explain why.

One way we can help is by creating a splint or night guard for you to wear in your sleep. These mouthpieces are, in a way, a kind of physical therapy for your jaw.

They can reposition your jaw so it rests in a more relaxed position. As you get used to wearing the night guard, it should become more comfortable.

The night guard also keeps your top and bottom teeth separated so you are unable to grind them together.

With time, the night guard can alleviate the source of your TMJ problem and your symptoms, too. If not, then we can look into other treatment options.

We Want To End Your Pain

TMJ pain can interfere with your ability to work and your ability to enjoy your time with your family and friends. Lloyd F. Moss Jr., D.D.S., & Lloyd F. Moss III, D.D.S., want to help end your suffering.

To get relief, use our online form or call (540) 369-4926 to make an appointment at our dentist office in Fredericksburg, VA.