The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) connects our skull to the jawbone. The TMJ and the muscles attached to it control the up and down and side to side movement of the jaw. Thus, the well being of our TMJ affects our ease at speaking, chewing, and yawning. If we experience pain or tenderness during the everyday functions of eating, speaking, yawning, and laughing, TMJ problems can become difficult to ignore. Dr. Maria and Dr. Thanasi Loukas of Park Ridge invest themselves in the health and comfort of their patients. They will take a history, perform an x-ray and evaluation, and create a treatment plan that can give you relief from your symptoms of TMJ as quickly as possible. The doctors discuss some simple steps to relieve the symptoms of TMJ.
Dr. Maria and Dr. Thanasi Loukas encourage patients to try more than one option to treat TMJ symptoms successfully.
- Adopt a regimen of exercise, moist heat, and ice packs. First, apply moist heat to the side of your face or temples for about ten minutes. This will relax the muscles. Then, practice gentle jaw stretches followed by the use of ice packs for about five minutes. Repeat this routine several times a day.
- Eat soft foods. Avoid crunchy, chewy foods and limit yourself to softer foods to allow your jaw to heal. Some patients report that two to three weeks of a soft food diet lessens their pain, and others may need to remain on this diet longer.
- Anti-inflammatory medications such as Advil or Ibuprofen can curb pain. Some patients grind their teeth which places strong, often damaging force on teeth surfaces. Teeth grinding or jaw clenching is known as bruxism, and the dentists may suggest a muscle relaxant for these cases.
- Because teeth grinding can cause TMJ-related pain, the doctors may suggest a custom-fitted night guard that is worn while sleeping. Night guards prevent the jaw from biting down or grinding.
- Many believe that teeth grinding occurs because of a high amount of daytime stress, so Dr. Maria and Dr. Thanasi may recommend relaxation techniques, regular exercise, or reducing caffeine intake.
If your TMJ symptoms persist or worsen, call Dr. Maria or Dr. Thanasi.
About Our Doctors
If you would like to learn more about TMJ disorders, call your Park Ridge dentists at (847) 696-1919. Dr. Maria and Dr. Thanasi Loukas value each of their patients and respond to their concerns. Loukas Family Dentistry serves and treats patients from Park Ridge and the surrounding Chicago communities.
How do I know if I have TMJ issues?
Common symptoms of TMJ disorder include popping or clicking in the jaw, headaches, earaches, and jaw pain.