Rocky Mount TMJ Therapy
You may spend most of your life unaware of the temporomandibular joints, the little triangular-shaped joints located in front of your ears. Lined with cartilage, these important joints move with a smooth, gliding motion to open and close the lower jaw. However, stress or an improper bite can cause the TMJ to dysfunction, exposing nerve endings to create pain. In fact, the temporomandibular joints are highly sensitive to overall physical, emotional, and psychological stress. They are affected by the mechanics of your bite and the condition of your jaw muscles. A little extra stress, a little extra fatigue, a little change in your bite, and you may temporarily knock the whole system out of balance. The resulting TMJ disorder, or TMD, 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 in our culture, so we evaluate every patient for TMJ dysfunction at their regular dental exam. If Dr. Belton & Dr. Schrimper detect a problem, our goals are to arrest it, protect teeth from further damage, and correct underlying bite misalignment. TMJ therapy may involve fitting you with a physiologic bite appliance, suggesting ways to alleviate stress, and recommending symptom relief measures. Typically, TMJ therapy patients need to avoid chewing gum or hard, chewy food. Dr. Belton and Dr. Schrimper recommend that TMJ therapy patients take small bites and alternate chewing between both sides of the mouth. Good nutrition will help the joints heal more quickly and good posture can help relieve discomfort that stems from TMJ disorder. To relieve soreness, light temple and jaw massage will stimulate circulation and relax the muscles. If pain is present, our Rocky Mount team suggests alternating moist heat and cold for 20 minutes to further increase circulation. Over-the-counter anti-inflammatories or analgesics can be very helpful as well.
For more information about TMJ therapy, TMD, or neuromuscular dentistry, call our Rocky Mount office. We want to help you receive the relief you deserve. Dr. Belton & Dr. Schrimper see TMJ therapy patients from Rocky Mount, Farmville, Wilson, Tarboro, Nashville, and other North Carolina towns.