Does your jaw hurt when you’re talking or eating? Do you hear popping noises when opening or closing your mouth? If so, you could be suffering from TMJ Disorder (TMD).
Symptoms of TMJ Disorder
TMJ has a variety of symptoms, including:
- Pain or Swelling in the TMJ Region
- Clicking or popping noises when you move your jaw
- Neck pain
- Tinnitus (ringing in your ears)
- Clenching or grinding your teeth
- Pain when eating
If you notice any of these symptoms, call Dr. Heffelfinger right away at (260) 925-4290. We’ll make it stop hurting, so you can live and eat in comfort.
What Is TMJ Disorder?
You have two temporomandibular joints (TMJ) — they’re located just below your ears. They work like hinges, allowing your jaw to move in several directions.
TMJ Disorder (TMD) is a condition that affects one or both of your temporomandibular joints. The most frequent cause of TMD is bruxism, which is clenching and teeth grinding that often occurs at night while you sleep. Additional factors that contribute to TMD include arthritis, chewing hard objects such as ice, or an injury caused by a blow to the region.
We’ll Find the Treatment That’s Right for You
Dr. Nate Heffelfinger has years of experience and special training in providing TMJ care. In fact, he’s a graduate of the Kois Center in Seattle where he’s completed advanced training in occlusion, the science of how your teeth fit together when you bite down.
When you meet with Dr. Heffelfinger, he’ll ask you a series of questions about how your TMD is affecting your life. Then he’ll use specialized diagnostic equipment to find the source of your pain.
We feature a number of treatment options for TMD, such as physical therapy, lifestyle changes, and stress management techniques. Many of our patients in Auburn have found relief using oral appliance therapy. This device is custom-fitted by Dr. Heffelfinger to protect you from clenching and grinding while you sleep.
Your Family Dentist in Auburn, IA
Dr. Nate Heffelfinger and our outstanding team provide complete dental care for the whole family, including regular checkups and pediatric care. Give us a call at (260) 925-4290 to learn more today. We can’t wait to meet you.
Frequently Asked Questions
If your jaw pops and causes pain to you throughout the day, we recommend coming in to have your TMJ evaluated. Even mild cases of TMJ can progress to become severe over time and interfere with your ability to eat and cause long term damage. Dr. Heffelfinger can determine the extent of your TMJ disorder and provide treatment so you can live your life without pain.
Yes– TMJ issues can lead to hearing loss. Your TMJs are on either side of your head, located near your ears. If there’s an issue with your joints, you may experience hearing loss due to the proximity.
The good news is that treatment for TMD may help you to regain your hearing. As the stress on your joints is relieved, the condition of your ears will also likely improve. Your hearing may change depending on the severity of your TMD and your treatment options.
Making certain lifestyle changes may help relieve TMJ symptoms in the short-term. A few natural remedies may include acupuncture, massage, jaw stretches, and sleep position. Remember, these are temporary fixes and shouldn’t be considered a long-term solution.
If you’re experiencing pain from TMJ, give us a call at (260) 925-4290 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Heffelfinger. He’ll take the time to discuss your symptoms and help determine the most effective treatment for you.
Dr. Heffelfinger may recommend a custom-made oral appliance to help improve the alignment of your jaw while you sleep and prevent further pain from TMJ.
There are several long-term effects of leaving TMD untreated, as it can increase your risk of developing serious health problems. Without proper treatment, TMJ disorder may result in tooth loss, jaw bone deterioration, nerve damage, migraines, or even hearing loss.
That’s why it’s crucial to give us a call if you’re experiencing pain related to TMJ disorder or think you may be suffering from TMD. Dr. Heffelfinger and our exceptional team at Smiles for Life will get to the root of the problem and help put an end to your pain.