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Posts for tag: tmj

September 10, 2019
Category: Dental
Tags: tmj  

Do you experience odd grating, popping or clicking sounds when you chew or open your jaw? Are headaches and ear pain becoming frequent? You may have TMJ, or temporomandibular joint dysfunction. At Stiles Family Dentistry in Salem, NH, Drs. Papapetros, Giraldo, and Masterson understand this quirky and painful disorder and provide real help.

What is TMJ?

TMJ stands for temporomandibular joint, the two hinges which allow you to open and close your mouth, speak, and chew. A truly amazing body part, the jaw joint moves up and down, side to side and even forward and backward.

Unfortunately, for 10 million Americans, TMJ also means temporomandibular joint disorder, states US News and World Report. People with TMJ experience painful and distressing symptoms such as:

  • Weird popping, grating, and clicking noises coming from the jaw and mouth
  • Jaw, facial, ear, neck, and shoulder pain
  • Problems opening and closing the mouth
  • Tinnitus, or ringing in one or both ears
  • Stiffness in the jaw
  • Headaches (even migraines)

Physicians and dentists often attribute TMJ to issues such as:

  • Arthritis, involving the condyle, or disc-like cushion in the TMJ
  • Stress and its associated teeth clenching and grinding (bruxism)
  • Oral injury, such as a direct blow to the jaw
  • Joint dislocation
  • Dental bite issues

While TMJ seems to affect mostly younger women between the ages of 20 and 40, children, teens, and adults of any age may suffer these and other debilitating symptoms.

Treating jaw joint disorders

Many people visit their primary care physicians or ear, nose and throat doctors with symptoms of TMJ. Typically, these health care providers also look to experienced dentists, such as Dr. Papapetros, Giraldo, and Masterson for evaluation and treatment.

If you're struggling with TMJ symptoms, your dentist Stiles Family Dentistry will ask you about your symptoms, including what precipitates or relieves them, how long they last and where they are located. Then, he'll do a complete oral examination to rule out decay or other oral health issues. The examination will include digital X-rays and other kinds of imaging as needed.

If TMJ is indeed the problem, your customized treatment plan may incorporate:

  • Eating a soft diet for a week or two
  • Over-the-counter analgesics
  • Prescription antidepressants or muscle relaxants
  • Ice or heat to the sore jaw
  • Stress reduction techniques
  • Physical therapy
  • Stretching exercises
  • Crowns or orthodontic treatment to correct dental bite
  • A customized acrylic bite guard to relieve bruxism

Feel better

TMJ feels like it's all in your head, but it's very real. At Stiles Family Dentistry, Drs. Papapetros, Giraldo, and Masterson understand, and they can help. Call the office in Salem, NH, today to arrange a one-on-one consultation: (603) 893-4538.

By Stiles Family Dentistry
October 13, 2016
Category: Oral Health
Tags: jaw pain   tmj  

Dealing with jaw pain due to a TMJ disorder? Find out how our Salem, NH dentists can help.

Are you suffering from chronic jaw pain? Do you notice that your jaws ache when you wake up? Do you notice frequent headaches in tmjthe morning? Then your jaw pain could be caused by a TMJ disorder, a condition that affects how the jaw joint and muscles function. Our Salem, NH family dentists Dr. Nicholas Papapetros and Dr. Paul Masterson are here to tell you ways to eliminate your TMJ-related jaw pain.

If you are dealing with symptoms for more than two weeks then this is something you should discuss with our Salem, NH general dentists. Of course, there are a variety of ways to address your pain from the comfort of your own home:

  • Try over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen, which can reduce any pain or jaw swelling.
  • Apply a warm compress to the side of the jaw that is in pain for up to 20 minutes at a time several times a day.
  • Alter your diet to remove certain hard foods or foods that require you to open your jaw too wide. Opt for softer foods and always cut foods into bite-size pieces, which will be more manageable.
  • Stay away from hard candies or chewing gum, which can stretch out the mouth too wide and exacerbate your condition.
  • It might sound silly but talk to us about certain mouth exercises you can perform every day to help improve muscle strength and retrain the muscles.
  • If your TMJ disorder is due to anxiety it’s a good time to find outlets to get rid of stress, including meditation or performing daily relaxation exercises.

If you don’t notice an improvement in your symptoms then we may need to consider other options including wearing a night splint or mouth guard. Certain prescription medications may also be used to combat TMJ-related jaw pain. Very rarely is surgery necessary unless no other treatment options provide the relief you need.

The dentists at Stiles Family Dentistry in Salem, NH are here to make sure that your smile always stays healthy. Pain should never be something that you have to put up with. If you are suffering from jaw pain then it’s time you got the relief you need.