Have headaches, jaw pain or earaches become part of your daily life? You should actually be turning to your dentist for treatment options. Dr. Auslander can help you ease the pain.

The source of these aches and pains are often related to one or both of the temporomandibular joints (TMJ). Located on each side of the head, these joints work together with a complex system of muscles, ligaments, discs and bones, to engineer chewing and speaking functions.

TMJ disorder is characterized by the jaw twisting or moving to the side during opening and closing. The condition is linked to arthritis, improper bites, jaw dislocation, injury, and stress. Clenching or grinding teeth (bruxism) may aggravate TMJ disorder.

A litany of symptoms often signal the existence of TMJ disorder. These tend to start with pain in or around the ear, headaches and neck aches, tenderness of the jaw and its muscles, and difficulty opening and closing the mouth. Jaw pain or soreness is typically most prevalent in the morning or late afternoon, especially when chewing, biting or yawning. In addition, clicking or popping noises when opening the mouth accompany the pain. Extensive teeth sensitivity with no other causes is also a red flag.

Unfortunately, there is not a widely accepted, standardized test to accurately identify TMJ disorder. This makes diagnosis particularly difficult. Normally, patients explain related symptoms to the dentist, which is followed by a general mouth and jaw exam, sometimes accompanied by x-rays.

If the Auslander Dental staff believes you are experiencing TMJ disorder, we will suggest a relevant treatment option. First, we want to help you manage the pain. This can mean resting the joint, taking an over-the-counter, anti-inflammatory drug (aspirin or ibuprofen) or applying heat to the painful areas. A night guard may be prescribed to prevent your teeth from grinding during sleep. Some types of adjustment, such as orthodontic treatment, may be administered to shift teeth placement and correct poorly aligned teeth. A combination of these practices is imperative in the eventual elimination of symptoms.

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