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Rock Hill, SC 29732
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TMJ Therapy – Rock Hill, SC

Relieve Chronic Jaw Pain

When you place your fingertips on the skin just under your ears, you should be able to feel something moving as you open and close your mouth. These are the temporomandibular joints (also known as TMJ), which have the crucial responsibility of connecting the lower jaw to the skull and giving you the ability to speak, chew, and more. Unfortunately, this area may experience strain over time for a variety of reasons, leading to serious and even debilitating symptoms.

If you’re experiencing a lot of discomfort in your mouth and jaw from day to day, don’t hesitate to contact Coombs & Ross Family Dentistry for a consultation to discuss your options for TMJ therapy in Rock Hill, SC. Our doctors want to help you get back to enjoying a pain-free life as soon as possible.

TMJ Diagnosis & Treatment

Dentist looking at skull and jawbone x-rays to diagnosis a need for T M J therapy

TMJ disorder has several possible causes. For instance, some patients may experience it because of a significantly misaligned bite, while other cases worsen over time because of bruxism (teeth grinding). Traumatic facial injuries and arthritis can also result in this condition. Thankfully, our dentists are experts at discovering it early on. Here are some common symptoms that patients should be aware of:

  • Significant, chronic pain that’s located in the jaw, face, head, shoulders, or neck
  • The constant sensation of an earache
  • Jaw joints that constantly pop and click
  • Difficulty with opening your mouth fully and/or chewing

Equilibration / Occlusal Adjustments

Model of the skull

If your particular case of TMJ disorder is caused by a misaligned bite, occlusal adjustment can work wonders in restoring harmony to your overall smile. Our doctors will carefully alter certain teeth with the help of restorative services so that the two rows meet much more evenly and the biting force is properly spread out. This should relieve TMJ strain and help you smile without worry again.

Occlusal Splints

Hand holding an occlusal splint

Occlusal splints are another effective form of TMJ treatment. They are personalized oral appliances that that are designed to hold the upper and lower jaw in a more relaxed position, which relieves chronic facial discomfort in turn. The diligent use of an occlusal splint should, in most cases, create permanent improvements for patients in need and restore the jaw’s ability to naturally function without trouble.

MPD Diagnosis and Treatment

Similar to TMD, myofascial pain disorder (MPD) occurs when muscles related to the TMJ become unbalanced and injured. As a result, some symptoms may not manifest as jaw pain but as neck pain, shoulder pain, or headaches. However, unlike TMD, MPD syndrome is a stress-induced condition originating in the muscle tissue and not the TMJ itself. As a result, if we find that MPD is the real cause of the problem, we can focus therapy on reducing stress, relaxing tense jaw muscles, and creating awareness.

TMJ FAQs

Woman experiencing pain in her TMJ in Rock Hill

If you are dealing with persistent jaw pain or other symptoms that point to a problem with your TMJ in Rock Hill, our team is ready to help you find relief. Before you schedule your consultation, however, you might want to know more about your condition and how to address it. To help you out, we have put together a brief list of frequently asked questions about TMJ issues. If you do not see the information you were hoping for, contact us so we can personally assist you.

What Is the Difference Between TMJ and TMD?

TMJ is an acronym for temporomandibular joint(s), the part of human anatomy that connects the mandible (lower jaw) to the rest of the skull. Although you might hear someone say that they “have TMJ,” they are usually actually saying that they have TMJ disorder (TMD), which can refer to any number of problems with the TMJ. Although TMJ and TMD are often used interchangeably, it is usually possible to tell by the context whether the term being used is accurate.

Are There Any At-Home Remedies that Can Relieve TMJ Pain?

Many people find temporary relief by doing the following:

  • Using facial massage
  • Applying heat and/or ice to the sides of the face
  • Eating only soft foods that are easy to chew
  • Avoiding chewing gum
  • Taking over the counter pain relievers
  • Applying techniques for stress relief
  • Working to improve posture

Although the above measures may help to mitigate TMJ pain, they typically do not address the root cause of TMD. In the vast majority of cases, it is wise to seek professional care rather than rely solely on at-home remedies.

Who Is Most At-Risk for TMJ Disorder?

The group that is most at-risk for TMD is women of childbearing age. This may be due to hormonal or slight anatomical differences between the sexes. Of course, men and women of any age may develop TMD due to issues like arthritis, injury, stress, teeth grinding, and other risk factors. If you are experiencing symptoms of this condition, it would certainly be worth your time to seek diagnosis and treatment.

Will My TMD Ever Go Away on Its Own?

Some people find that their TMD symptoms disappear without professional treatment. However, the root cause of the pain may still be present, meaning that TMD flare-ups are likely to occur again in the future. Having a professional help you identify why you are experiencing pain and developing a concrete plan to address the problem is the best way to find long-term relief.

Will I Have to Undergo Surgery for My TMD?

In rare cases, the cause of TMD is an issue with the jaw joint or surrounding area that is best corrected by surgical intervention. If we suspect that you would benefit from such a procedure, we will refer you to a trustworthy local specialist. Most of the time, though, much more conservative measures are effective at relaxing the TMJ and helping patients to live without jaw pain and other bothersome TMD symptoms.

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