How to Know if You Have TMJ

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Facial pain and tender jaw can unhinge a variety of medical problems and side effects. For those suffering from TMJ, even the most basic task of chewing can be a major challenge. Our dental professionals have superior solutions to reinstate temporomandibular joint function and restore patients’ quality of life.

Temporomandibular joint syndrome is pain in one or both of the joints that connect your jaw to your skull. There are a variety of causes for this disorder, injury to the mouth or jaw, stress, poor posture and gum chewing. Symptoms that can occur as a sign of this disorder include tenderness of the jaw joint, neck, shoulders, and ears when eating or during speech. Likewise, other signals include ‘locked jaw,’ facial swelling, tooth aches, and difficulty opening the mouth. If you hear a popping or grating sound when you open your mouth to talk or chew, there is a possibility you have temporomandibular joint syndrome. Fortunately there are numerous treatments to prevent the side effects of this disorder, including physical therapy, night guards and splints, and muscle relaxers. If a patient experiences any symptoms of this disorder, it is best to seek treatment early in order to reduce risk of any painful side effects.

Where to Get TMJ Help

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TMJ is a very serious and common disorder that is surprisingly not very well known or discussed. As many as ten million Americans suffer from TMJ today. However, most do not know who or where to turn to if they discover they are dealing with this issue.

If you are suffering from TMJ, it is important to see a dentist right away. While most will be able to address your condition, there are also dentist’s that specialize in this issue. You may even be able to find a directory online that can show you a list of TMJdentists in your area.

If your TMJ dentist determines that you do in fact suffer from TMJ, they will work with you to develop a treatment plan. This may include medications such as over the counter pain relievers and muscle relaxants to relieve pain and tension in the jaw muscles. Your dentist may also recommend a bite guard to ease jaw tension. Stress relief and physical therapy are also highly recommended, to relax and then strengthen the jaw.

Our dentist will be sure to work with you in trial and error, to find the best solution for your specific needs. Schedule your appointment today.

Most Successful TMJ Treatments

Getting_Relief_from_TMD

TMJ, or temporomandibular joint disease, is known to cause pain and discomfort in many different areas. While some patients are able to continue with their everyday lives with little problems, others find the disorder debilitating. Our TMJ doctor can create a treatment plan that will work for you, and eliminate any symptoms. The following are some of the most commonly successful TMJ treatments.

Stress relief

Stress can cause jaw clenching, which leads to inflammation in the jaw joints, a known trigger of TMJ. Patients often find their symptoms lessen when they avoid stressful situations and actively relax the jaw.

Stretches

Our TMJ doctor can recommend and demonstrate several stretches that will strengthen the jaw and minimize inflammation. These stretches can be done a few times a day, anywhere you are. You may also decide to attend physical therapy for extra help.

Pain relievers

As with most cases of pain, over-the-counter pain relievers prove to be successful in reducing the effects of the disorder. Our doctor can recommend a pain reliever that may work best for you.

If you believe you are suffering from TMJ, schedule an appointment with our office today.

Common TMJ Symptoms

Getting_Relief_from_TMD

Experts are not entirely sure at the moment why TMJ, or temporomandibular joint disease, develops in patients. What we do know is that it often occurs after a physical accident in that area, or due to high levels of stress. It is important to keep an eye out for TMJ symptoms in order to be able to recognize TMJ in case it arises.

TMJ can be difficult to diagnose, as its symptoms can affect many areas and be hard to recognize. These symptoms include pain and/or discomfort in the:

• Jaw
• Face
• Head
• Ears
• Neck
• And shoulders

Other common symptoms are tinnitus (ringing in the ears), lock jaw, and difficultly chewing and speaking. Bruxism, or the habitual clenching and grinding of the teeth, is also common. Many combinations of these can look like several other disorders or illnesses, making it difficult to diagnose. If you recognize any of these symptoms in your daily life, you should see our Thousand Oaks TMJ dentist as soon as possible. We can work with you to develop the best treatment to eliminate your symptoms and restore health. Many patients respond to stress relief, meditation, physical therapy, bite guards, and anti-inflammatory medications.

Why Does TMJ Cause Pain?

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The most common and well-known symptom of TMJ, or temporomandibular joint disorder, is pain. Patients often report pain in the jaw joint itself, as well as the head, neck, face, shoulders, ears, and teeth. Because of the reach TMJ has, it can be hard for both patients and experts to identify the cause, but the disorder also typically comes with other symptoms, including jaw lock, and grinding or clicking when moving the mouth. However, these symptoms can also cause pain.

The cause of TMJ-related pain can be complicated to source, and experts are still unsure of what underlying factor causes the disorder in the first place. It is typically because the displacement of a damaged disk in the jaw joint puts pressure on the muscle on the side of the face that covers it, as well as the nerves in the area. When the nerves are affected, pain is always the result.

Fortunately, our TMJ dentist employs many different treatments to get rid of the pain, any other symptoms you may have, and possibly even eliminate the disorder all together. First-line treatments include lifestyle changes, such as reducing sources of stress and lightly stretching the jaw muscles. Many patients see results when using a splint or mouth guard. We will work with you to find the best treatment for your TMJ pain as soon as possible.

What are the Common Treatments for Sleep Apnea?

The snoring

More than six million Americans currently suffer from sleep apnea. This is a disorder wherein the muscles in the throat constrict during sleep, not allowing the patient to get the amount of sleep they need. It causes loud snoring, listlessness, and weight gain. Fortunately, there are several different types of sleep apnea treatment available that have proven successful in allowing patients to get good nights of sleep.

Common sleep apnea treatments

A Thousand Oaks sleep apnea dentist may start you out with minimal lifestyle adjustments, in order to find a solution with the least amount of difficulty for you. These changes may include diet restrictions, reducing stress, or a shift in sleep position.

If a combination of simple adjustments does not yield results, a mouth appliance will likely be recommended next. Mouth guards work by keeping the jaw in a certain place to allow for more room in the throat for air to travel through. Some mouth guards hold just the jaw forward, while others hold the jaw and the tongue.

The next step is trying a CPAP machine. This involves a mask that is placed over the mouth and straps around the back of your head. It is attached to a machine that will supply a consistent stream of air into the nose while you sleep.

Severe Sleep Apnea and Its Consequences

Snoring man, frustrated woman

There are many negative consequences to an untreated severe sleep apnea disorder. Sleep apnea is a condition wherein the sufferer’s airways become obstructed during sleep. This can lead to loud snoring, pausing of breath while asleep, cardiac arrhythmias, low blood oxygen levels, and waking multiple times during the night, often without realization.

The consequences don’t cease while awake, however. Lack of sleep or quality sleep means that those with the disorder do not reach the fifth cycle of sleep, or REM, also known as Rapid Eye Movement sleep. This can lead to altered behavior during the day, behavior such as the body’s cravings for caffeine, sugar, and fatty foods in effort to keep itself awake and energized. This can lead to an influx of weight. Severe sleep apnea can natural also cause serious fatigue, morning headaches, listlessness, and moodiness throughout the day.
In the worst case, untreated severe sleep apnea can lead to hypertension, heart failure, or stroke. However there are many ways that this disorder can be treated, including mouth guards, PAP machines, and even surgery.

If you are suffering from, or think you may be suffering from severe sleep apnea, contact our sleep apnea dentist in Thousand Oaks for more information.

What are the Symptoms of TMJ

Terrible tooth ache.

TMJ is an acronym for the Temporomandibular joint, which connects the jaw to the skull. Symptoms occur almost as though this joint, which functions as a kind of hinge, becomes rusty. Here is an incomplete list of those symptoms:

• Jaw pain
• Ear pain
• An audible clicking sound in the jaw
• Popping sounds in the ears
• Pain in the temples

The condition concurrent to these symptoms is TMD, or temporomandibular disorder. However, the terms TMJ and TMD are used interchangeably.

At their worst, TMJ symptoms require surgery and physical therapy. Some sufferers develop difficulty chewing or discover an abrupt change in the way upper and lower teeth fit together.

However, our expert in TMJ syndrome in Thousand Oaks has found that most cases of TMJ are highly treatable, and can even be dealt with at home. You can take muscle relaxants or aspirin, or apply heat or cold treatments to painful areas. You can also learn relaxation techniques or undergo counseling to address problem areas in your personal life. TMJ is notoriously brought on by too much stress.

For more about TMJ and how to treat it, contact our TMJ dentist.

Sleep Apnea Diagnosis Tests

Upset couple lying side by side in bed

Sleep apnea is a serious physical ailment that brings with it a host of negative consequences for your general health and your daily life. And while treatment is available from our Thousand Oaks sleep apnea expert, the first step is, of course, diagnosing the condition.

The first thing to do is to keep a sleep journal for a week or two prior to your appointment. Note how you slept, how you felt in the morning, and everything you can thing of as it pertains to your sleep.

The next step is to go into your appointment to discuss your symptoms with your sleep apnea expert. They will undoubtedly either give you an at-home diagnosis testing machine, or request that you go to a sleep center. While the sleep center will test for more things and provide more rigorous results, in most situations the at-home test is sufficient to determine the presence of the condition or not. It will monitor your breathing and your hard heart, among other things.

The information gleaned from a night or two of testing while you sleep will then be returned to our expert in sleep apnea test in Thousand Oaks. The data will indicate if you have the condition.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea, Its Symptoms and Treatments

Upset couple lying side by side in bed

The most well-known and best understood type of sleep apnea is called obstructive sleep apnea. This is caused when the airway is being physically blocked, either partially or fully, during sleep. Here is some basic information about its symptoms and treatments, which our Thousand Oaks sleep apnea dentist can help sort out for you.

Symptoms

The symptoms of this common sleep problem can be easily identified by two main things: regular and consistent snoring, and pauses in breathing. While these things are easy for another person that is awake to observe, it can be very difficult to catch these things by oneself or by a bed-mate that is a sound sleeper. Additional symptoms include excessive daytime sleepiness, morning headaches, mood swings, high blood pressure, insomnia, dry mouth, and more.

Treatments

Treatment options begin with lifestyle. Changes include losing weight, exercising regularly, drinking alcohol moderately and not before bedtime, quitting smoking, and not sleeping on your back. After those suggestions, an oral sleep apnea appliance is the next conservative solution, which can be done by our expert in obstructive sleep apnea in Thousand Oaks. These devices help reposition the jaw and tongue to keep the airway open and are ideal for people with mild to moderate sleep apnea.

More aggressive and invasive treatment options are also available, including a CPAP machine, medication, and surgery.