Do you suffer from head, neck and/or facial pain? You may have heard of TMJ disorder but never thought that your headaches or pain in the jaw could be related to this condition. While TMJ is painful and sometimes debilitating, the good news is that it can be treated by a medical professional.
Dr. Jeff S. Luffey is a family dentist who provides TMJ treatment in Albuquerque. Dr. Luffey is a Presbyterian Medical Provider for sleep disorders and TMJ pain in Albuquerque, New Mexico. To have your TMJ pain treated, contact Dr. Luffey at 505-294-4700 and request an appointment.
What is the Temporomandibular Joint?
There are two matching temporomandibular joints on each side of your head, located right in front of your ears. If you have pain in these joints, it is likely caused by the structures around them, such as:
- The muscles of the jaw, neck and face
- Ligaments, blood vessels and nerves
- Teeth and jaw alignment
- Cartilage located at the joint
Most patients find that their symptoms feel worse when opening or closing the jaw. If you have TMJ pain, you know how unpleasant this can be! Even simple acts we take for granted like speaking and chewing can create debilitating pain when you have TMJ pain.
Symptoms of TMD
About 80% of patients with TMD report headaches, and 40% report facial pain. The following are all symptoms of TMD:
- Difficulty chewing, discomfort when biting
- Clicking, popping or grating sound when chewing
- Dull pain in the face and neck
- Pain and tenderness in the jaw
- Locking of the jaw, difficulty opening or closing the mouth
In addition to the pain that TMJ causes, patients report other uncomfortable symptoms. About 40% of patients report dizziness, and another 33% of patients report ringing in the ear.
What Causes TMJ Disorder, or TMD?
So what causes TMJ disorder? While several causes are known by dentists, sometimes the cause in individual patients is unknown. If you have pain in your temporomandibular joint, the cause could be:
- A misaligned bite, overbite or underbite
- Tooth grinding, also known as bruxism
- Poor posture, such as looking forward at a computer all day
A healthy lifestyle can make your TMD symptoms significantly better. For example, many patients report worse symptoms when they are under stress, eating a poor diet and skipping sleep. By living a health life style and seeing an Albuquerque dentist, you can manage your pain and your other symptoms.
TMJ Treatment in Albuquerque, New Mexico
Dr. Luffey is an Albuquerque family dentist who provides gentle, non-invasive TMJ treatment to relieve and control your symptoms, preventing them from reoccurring or worsening. Your TMJ treatment may include:
- Dr. Luffey will show you techniques to gently stretch, relax and massage the muscles around your jaw to relieve your symptoms.
- Instructions on avoiding TMJ triggers, such as yawning, singing or chewing gum.
- Stress reduction techniques to avoid bruxism.
- Dr. Luffey may recommend a custom-made oral appliance to properly align your jaw.
To find out the right treatment for your TMD and get relief from your head, neck and facial pain, contact Dr. Luffey, an Albuquerque dentist, at 505-294-4700.