TMJ/TMD Therapy – Savannah, GA
Long-Term Relief for Chronic Jaw & Head Pain
Does your jaw hurt every time you open or close your mouth? Do you get headaches all the time and can’t figure out why? If so, the underlying cause might be a temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder or TMD. The TMJ are the small set of hinges that connects your jaw to the rest of your head, and factors like injury, arthritis, and even a misaligned bite can cause it to develop pain and dysfunction. Dr. Fana has trained extensively to not only identify these kinds of problems but treat them as well using a variety of conservative and effective therapies. If you’re ready to stop experiencing jaw and head pain every day, contact us today to schedule an appointment.
Why Choose Compass Dental for TMJ/TMD Therapy?
- Dentist who has trained at the prestigious L.D. Pankey Institute
- Decades of experience handling all kinds of TMJ-related issues
- Able to completely relieve pain & improve jaw function
Occlusal Adjustments (Equilibrations)
As we touched on above, sometimes a misaligned bite can be the source of TMJ pain. When the teeth aren’t able to come together properly, this can lead to tension in the TMJ itself, which can quickly turn into strain and pain. By slightly reshaping the teeth and rebalancing the bite, Dr. Fana can quickly fix this kind of issue and help the joint function as it should, free of discomfort.
Occlusal Splint Therapy
Occlusal splint therapy involves a patient wearing a specially-made mouthguard to bed that slightly adjusts the TMJ so the surrounding muscles, ligaments, and nerves are able to naturally relax and heal. It can also help stop another common TMD symptom—teeth grinding. Over time, the joint will “learn” to stay in this new position, meaning a patient will be able to go throughout their day without any pain or stiffness.
Often, TMJ-related issues can lead to tense muscles throughout the entire head, leading to frequent headaches that seemingly come out of nowhere. With strategically-placed Botox injections, Dr. Fana can prevent agitated muscles from spasming and causing pain. This is an excellent way to get fast relief while a more long-term solution is running its course.
The health of the TMJ and the orientation of the teeth are extremely interconnected, so sometimes, orthodontic treatment is the best way to address any problems with the joint. Dr. Fana works closely with a local orthodontist so a patient can get the exact care they need to achieve long-term relief. By straightening the teeth and aligning the bite, he can help the joint reach its natural resting position so the muscles are able to fully relax.
TMJ/TMD Therapy FAQ’s
We’re here to answer any and all questions you might have regarding pain in your jaw. Below are the answers to some common questions we’ve received regarding TMJ/TMD therapy in Savannah. If there’s anything else you’d like to ask or if you suspect you’re suffering from a TMJ disorder, make an appointment at our office as soon as possible; we’re ready to help!
What Can Cause a TMJ Disorder?
There can be several different root causes for TMJ problems, but it can be difficult to determine on your own. It could be a result of genetics, arthritis, injury to the jaw, or a combination of these factors. If you involuntarily clench or grind your teeth (a condition known as bruxism that can happen while you’re awake or asleep), it can also be a source of jaw pain; however, it may or may not cause TMD. Part of your treatment will involve an examination to better determine the exact source of the pain.
What are the Symptoms of TMD?
In addition to persistent jaw pain that can worsen while chewing or debilitating headaches, patients suffering from TMD might also experience:
- Aching in and around the ear
- General facial pain
- A stiff or occasionally locked jaw that can make it difficult to open and close your mouth
- A clicking sound when chewing or speaking
Bear in mind that not all of these symptoms will occur in every case of TMD. Also, if you hear a clicking sound but it’s not accompanied by pain or limited jaw movement, you may not need TMJ treatment.
What Happens if TMJ Pain Isn’t Treated?
A disorder of the TMJ is not life-threatening; however, the symptoms may worsen and become more painful and limiting over time. You could experience joint inflammation, worn-down teeth, increased muscle contractions and even an airway sleep disorder. Overall, your TMD could affect your ability to sleep, your eating habits and your overall mood. Some studies have even found a link between TMJ pain and depression. It’s best to seek treatment as soon as possible so as to avoid a significant decrease in your quality of life.
How Can I Treat TMJ/TMD at Home?
While professional treatment is often required, you can take the following steps at home to lessen your TMJ pain:
- A heat pack or a hot water bottle can reduce pain; an ice pack can reduce swelling and help the area heal.
- Eat soft or blended foods that give the jaws a rest and avoid hard, crunchy foods (such as nut shells) or chewy foods (such as gum). Also be careful of opening your jaw too wide, such as when you eat an apple.
- Perform some jaw exercise to help increase mobility. Deep breathing and other relaxation techniques can help as well.
- Sleep on your slide and use your pillow for support.
- When you yawn, put your chin on your fist to avoid damaging the TMJ.
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