What Is Causing My Jaw Pain?
Ongoing jaw pain can be disruptive to your entire life: it can make eating, sleeping, and talking difficult. If you have been experiencing jaw pain and aren't sure why, it's time to make an appointment with Dr. Robert Hoffmaster, your dentist in York, PA, to find out if you have TMJ. You may have heard of this term but aren't sure what it means. This is a great place to start to learn more about TMJ.
What is TMJ?
TMJ is short for temporomandibular joint, which is the area of the jaw that moves when you talk and chew. It's also the area that is affected by poor alignment or degradation of the joint's cushioning tissues. Prior trauma to the jaw, such as from a car or sports-related accident, may also cause TMJ to develop. Its symptoms include a clicking or popping sensation during jaw movements, pain and tenderness in the immediate area, or "referred" pain in the neck, shoulder, or ear. TMJ may also be referred to as TMJD or TMD, with the 'D' standing for "dysfunction." TMJ is a common problem seen by your York dentist; it's estimated that over 10 million Americans deal with some form of it.
Treating TMJ with medication
The first step in treating your TMJ is to contact Dr. Hoffmaster, who has extensive experience and training in diagnosis and management of TMJ. A regimen of anti-inflammatory medicine can be extremely helpful in keeping the associated pain under control. Muscle relaxants may also be effective for TMJ symptoms, but they need to be used on a short-term basis with strict adherence to a schedule to avoid adverse side effects. Antidepressant medications have also shown to be useful in helping to relax the jaw and reduce pain.
Other ways to treat TMJ
Your York dentist may recommend that you wear an appliance, also called an orthotic or a splint, in your mouth during sleep to help hold your jaw in the proper position. Many people see significant relief from wearing these devices. Surgical procedures, such as joint replacement or steroid insertion, are typically only recommended if the conservative treatments listed above fail to bring any relief.
For sympathetic and experienced care of TMJ, contact Dr. Hoffmaster's office in York, PA for an evaluation.