TMJ / TMD Treatment
"Everyone was extremely compassionate and caring, from the receptionist to the dental assistants to Dr. Dixon himself. No lectures about how it was a tooth that the doctor had warned me about over a year ago, and no judgmental behavior about how I'd missed my last 2 (okay maybe 3) check-up appointments. I think it's about time I take my oral health seriously, so I'm certain that I will follow Dr. Dixon's recommendations this time, starting with my periodical check-up appointments. Thank you Dr. Dixon, Sherri, Jennifer, Susan, and the rest of the staff."
Dr. Brad Dixon is a local dentist in Gainesville, Georgia with years of experience working closely with patients to alleviate jaw discomfort and to protect teeth from undue wear associated with temporomandibular joint disorders, also known as TMJ / TMD.
What Is TMJ / TMD?
Your jaw is an amazing feat of natural engineering. It is flexible enough to move side-to-side, up and down, and forward and backward, allowing a full range of facial expressions and clear speech. Yet it is also strong and stable enough to let you chew solid foods thoroughly. This is possible because of two small working parts called your temporomandibular joints, or TMJs. They hinge your lower jaw to your skull on either side of your head, just below your ears. TMJs glide smoothly thanks to a complex mechanism of ligaments, muscles, and cushioning tissues.
What Causes Temporomandibular Joint Disorder?
If you are experiencing pain in your jaw, you may suffer from TMD – temporomandibular joint disorder. This may be a one-time experience, or it can be recurring. It can be brought on by trauma such as injury to the head, face, neck, or back, bruxism (excessive clenching or grinding, usually at night), arthritis, and habits like chewing gum or cradling a telephone receiver on your shoulder can bring on an attack. But one of the most common triggers is stress.
What Are Common Symptoms of TMD?
- Headaches or migraines, especially upon waking.
- Pain in the jaw, face, neck, or shoulders.
- Limited jaw mobility, or mouth noises (click, pops, or grinding sounds).
- Ear-aches or sounds in the ears.
- A change in the feel of your bite, or sudden difficulty chewing.
How is TMD Treated?
Even though you can't always see a problem, we understand that your discomfort is real. Jaw pain impairs performance at work or school and impacts your emotional wellbeing, sometimes resulting in depression. TMD is often misdiagnosed, or the symptoms are simply treated with powerful pain medications. Wouldn't you rather get relief by treating the source of your pain?
Dr. Dixon takes the opportunity at regular dental examinations to evaluate each patient for TMD. When a problem is detected, he and his team of dental professionals work to find and cure the source of the discomfort.
Your therapy may include a custom-fitted bite appliance such as a TMJ mouth guard, and advice on stress management techniques. We'll talk with you about some simple lifestyle changes that may help – taking small bites of food, chewing on one side then the other, avoiding gum and very hard or chewy foods, and good nutrition to help your joint heal. Posture and sleeping position are also important.
For TMJ pain relief, we may suggest jaw and temple massages to relax muscles and stimulate circulation. Alternating warm and cool compresses, and non-prescription analgesic/anti-inflammatory medications can be beneficial.
How Can I Get TMJ / TMD Relief?
It's time you talked with your dentist about getting relief from TMD through neuromuscular dentistry techniques. We are here to help. Schedule an appointment with Dr. Dixon to get started, or contact us today to learn more about our TMD treatments!