TMJ Therapy in Lansing
TMJ and Bruxism
You may spend most of your life unaware of the important, triangular-shaped joints located in front of your ears. These are the temporomandibular joints, and they connect your lower jaw and temporal bone, allowing your mouth to open and close easily. However, stress or an improper bite can take the form of bruxism, which is when you clench your jaw or grind your teeth during sleep. In fact, the TMJ is highly sensitive to overall physical and emotional stress. This can create a variety of mild to severe symptoms, from jaw clicking and minor discomfort to sharp pain in your temple, ear, neck, and shoulders.
The condition is very common, so our Lansing dental team evaluates every patient for TMJ problems at their general dentistry appointments. If we detect a problem, we will provide treatment to stop it, protect teeth from further damage, and correct underlying bite misalignment.
TMJ therapy may involve fitting you with a bite appliance, suggesting ways to alleviate stress, and recommending symptom relief measures. Typically, TMJ patients need to avoid chewing gum or hard, chewy foods. Good nutrition will help the joint heal more quickly; good posture will also help relieve discomfort. A straight back, relaxed neck, and side-sleeping position are also helpful. To relieve soreness, light temple and jaw massage will stimulate circulation and relax the muscles. If pain is present, we suggest alternating moist heat and cold for 20 minutes to further increase circulation.
Managing TMJ Symptoms
One method of treatment is an bite appliance, also called a nightguard or splint, to prevent grinding and clenching. You'll simply wear your nightguard as you sleep, to prevent your upper and lower rows of teeth from grinding against one another throughout the night. Many types of nightguards exist, and patients react differently to the various styles. If one appliance does not work, another may. In many cases, simply wearing a nightguard will eliminate the problem. However, if the condition persists, we can prescribe alternative therapies to correct the issue.
Some practices can relieve symptoms of bruxism, including stress and anxiety management, focused facial relaxation, massage and stretching of face and neck muscles, applying ice or wet heat, proper rest, eating soft foods, and hydrating the body. It's also highly important to maintain regular exercise and a proper diet. Speak with Dr. Hagerty to learn more about how you can manage your oral health.
Please call us today to schedule an appointment for TMJ therapy. Dr. Hagerty treats patients from all over Michigan, including those from Lansing, Holt, Grand Ledge, East Lansing, Okemos, and the surrounding areas.