Can a Chiropractor Help With TMJ?

Many people experience jaw pain that they think might be a temporomandibular joint (TMJ) problem but are unsure where to seek help. Many healthcare specialists are knowledgeable and treat dysfunctions of this complex joint. However, your dentist is the best place to start. Dentists receive training in diagnosing and treating TMJ and are the best professionals to oversee your overall treatment plan, which may include a chiropractor. 

If you have frequent headaches, jaw pain or other TMJ symptoms listed below, schedule an appointment at Trident Dental for a comprehensive TMJ evaluation.

What Is TMJ?

On either side of your jaw, directly in front of each ear, you have a hinge-like joint known as the TMJ. It is a complex combination of bone, muscle, cartilage, and nerves. Additionally, it has a disc between the bones of your lower jaw and skull that has functions vital to TMJ health. This fibrous disc acts as a protective shock absorber that allows the joint to make complex movements during chewing, speaking, swallowing, and other activities.

While technically, TMJ stands for the name of the joint, it is most often used to refer to the joint’s dysfunction. Some studies estimate that twenty to thirty percent of adults experience the symptoms of TMJ dysfunction. Fortunately, most cases resolve without treatment. Severe symptoms or inability to improve lead many people to seek professional treatment, however.

Signs You Might Have TMJ

TMJ disorders can be challenging to diagnose and often require an extensive history of the symptoms and diagnostic tests such as palpating facial and neck muscles for tender areas. The signs that you could have a TMJ problem include:

  • Pain in your jaw, face, temples, neck, ear, or shoulder.

  • Jaw locking open or closed.

  • Noises such as clicking or popping when you eat, yawn, or speak.

  • Changes in your teeth, such as sensitivity, chips, cracks, or how they fit together.

  • Jaws feel out of alignment.

Can A Chiropractor Help With TMJ?

Although the cause of many TMJ dysfunction cases can never be determined, Chiropractic techniques can help alleviate pain and improve jaw mobility. One study showed a significant improvement in the symptoms of TMJ dysfunction syndrome after following a chiropractic protocol that targeted the suprahyoid muscles. Other chiropractic techniques involve:

  • Treating facial and jaw muscles, such as the masseter, temporalis, and pterygoid muscles.

  • Adjusting the vertebrae to ensure a properly aligned spine that places no stress on the neck, jaw, and facial muscles. 

  • Prescribing jaw exercises to strengthen jaw muscles and improve their range of motion.

  • Trigger point therapy and massage to release muscle tightness and alleviate pain.

  • Correcting postures such as lateral head translation and forward head tilt

Other Treatments for TMJ

It may take various types of treatments from several types of healthcare providers to manage your TMJ symptoms. In addition to chiropractic treatments, you may require:

  • Stress reduction.

  • Hot and cold compresses.

  • Pain medications.

  • A soft diet.

  • A custom-made night guard.

  • Physical therapy.

  • Dental treatments such as braces.

Schedule Appointment

Contact us at Trident Dental to learn how we can help you with TMJ disorder. We provide comprehensive dental services, which include TMJ diagnosis and treatments such as custom night guards, invisible braces, and restorative dental procedures.

Schedule Appointment

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