TMJ can make everything having to do with your jaw more painful. And that includes dental care. Fortunately, a dentist who understands TMJ can provide for a more comfortable visit. And there are also treatment options to help resolve your pain.
Why TMJ Can Make Dental Care Painful
TMJ is notorious for the wide range of symptoms people experience, but among the most common is jaw pain. Jaw pain can have many triggers, but for most people, opening your mouth really wide and holding it open is going to trigger that pain, whether the pain is in the the muscles or in the joint itself. Because of the associated pain, many people with TMJ defer their routine dental checkups.
TMJ-related jaw pain can also interfere with your oral hygiene. It’s a lot harder to brush and, especially, floss your teeth when you have TMJ. This can lead you to neglect some parts of your oral care, perform it too quickly, or skip oral care altogether.
Unfortunately, this can increase your risk of decayed and damaged teeth, which means you will need to have more invasive dental care in the future, which can be even harder on your TMJ.
Making Dental Visits More Comfortable
But your dental visits don’t have to be painful, even if you have TMJ. We understand your condition and will do what we can to make your visits more comfortable.
We will start by working to understand your TMJ. We will talk to you about your symptoms and what tends to trigger them so that we can avoid them as much as possible. If your jaw pain worsens over time holding your mouth open, we will take frequent breaks to allow your jaw to rest. We will also try to break down your treatment into more short visits so you don’t have as much all at once.
We won’t ask you to open your mouth any wider than necessary. We might use an intraoral camera to help us perform exams without needing to look directly into your mouth. We will probably have to look in your mouth sometimes, but we’ll keep it to a minimum.
If it’s biting down that’s the problem, we will try to avoid that, too. For example, there are alternatives to bitewing x-rays that don’t require you to bite down in the same way.
Sedation dentistry can also be used to help relax your stress. Since stress-related tension is a common trigger for TMJ, we’ve found that it can be very effective at reducing or eliminating TMJ pain at a dental visit. And if you’re looking for a drug-free alternative, we offer NuCalm relaxation dentistry. If your jaw muscles are already carrying extra tension, we might also use TENS–a kind of electric massage–to reduce or eliminate tension so you can relax during your visit.
TMJ Treatment Is Available . . . If You Want It
And, of course, we can provide TMJ treatment that can reduce or eliminate your TMJ symptoms. TMJ treatment can make your jaw more comfortable at all times, including during your dental visit.