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Posts for tag: jaw pain

By Phillip S. Tully III DMD
May 26, 2019
Category: Oral Health
Tags: jaw pain   tmj disorders  

Every May, the National Fibromyalgia & Chronic Pain Association asks people around the world to spread awareness of fibromyalgia and other chronic pain conditions. Anyone with fibromyalgia and its associated joint and muscle pain knows all too well how chronic pain can disrupt everyday life. And as we see frequently in the dental office, people contending with the jaw pain and dysfunction associated with a temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD) can equally relate.

But here’s the kicker—if you’ve been diagnosed with either TMD or fibromyalgia, there’s a good chance you’re also dealing with both conditions. For example, in one recent survey of over a thousand TMD patients, two-thirds reported also having fibromyalgia or similar kinds of health issues. Researchers are looking intently at possible connections between TMD and fibromyalgia since understanding any potential link between the two might open the door to new ways of treatment.

Fibromyalgia patients experience frequent muscle spasms and fatigue throughout their bodies, coupled with other problems like sleeplessness and memory difficulties. Most researchers today believe it’s caused by a malfunction within the central nervous system (CNS) to process pain. Those working with TMD research are also considering whether the same type of malfunction contributes to jaw joint pain and dysfunction.

TMD is an umbrella term for various disorders involving the jaw joints and associated muscles. When you come to the dental office, it is important that we know about any TMD pain you may be experiencing because this can affect your dental visits. For example, people with TMD may have trouble holding their mouth open for an extended period of time, so we can adjust dental exams and treatments accordingly. Also, we will want to look for underlying dental conditions that may have contributed to your TMD.

If you’re experiencing both TMD and fibromyalgia symptoms, be sure you let us as well as your rheumatologist know the various symptoms you’re experiencing with each condition, the treatments you’re undergoing and the medications you’re taking.

For TMD in particular, here are a few things you can do to reduce its impact on your daily life:

  • Avoid foods that require heavy chewing or jaw widening;
  • Use thermal therapies like warm compresses or ice packs to ease jaw stiffness and pain;
  • Practice relaxation techniques to reduce stress in your life;
  • Ask about muscle relaxants or other medications that might help.

You may find that some of these practices, particularly stress reduction, are also helpful in managing fibromyalgia. And if there is a deeper connection between TMD and fibromyalgia, unraveling the mystery could hopefully lead to even greater relief for both.

If you would like more information about managing your symptoms, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. To learn more, read the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Chronic Jaw Pain and Associated Conditions” and “Fibromyalgia and Temporomandibular Disorders.”

By Phillip S. Tully III DMD
July 10, 2018
Category: TMJ
Tags: tmj   jaw pain  

Jaw pain can have a fast effect on your normal daily routine by impairing your ability to eat, drink, or speak normally. However, your dentist jaw paincan help you get to the bottom of your jaw pain, understand its treatments, and find the best way to manage your pain for good. Find out more about jaw pain with Dr. Phillip Tully III in Columbus, GA.

What causes jaw pain? 
Your jaw is made up of several bones which come together to form joints on either side of your jaw. Called the temporomandibular joints, they control the opening, closing, and side-to-side movements of your mouth. If one or both of these joints become inflamed, irritated, or damaged, it produces the symptoms of temporomandibular joint, or TMJ, disorder. This disorder is often the underlying cause of jaw pain. Though most cases of TMJ disorder are temporary and related to environmental factors, it can become serious and affect patients for long periods of time.

Do I have TMJ disorder? 
TMJ disorder produces distinctive symptoms aside from general pain and discomfort. Some of the common signs you may have TMJ disorder include:

  • jaw pain and discomfort
  • a clicking noise when opening or closing the mouth or while eating
  • pain in one or both sides of the jaw
  • aching facial pain
  • difficulty chewing or speaking
  • Difficulty in opening or closing the mouth.

TMJ Disorder Treatments in Columbus, GA

Treating TMJ disorder depends on the severity of the symptoms, the level of damage to the joint, and the patient themselves. Doctors can treat many mild TMJ disorder cases with simple treatments like over-the-counter or prescription pain relievers or muscle relaxants. Physical therapy, counseling to lower stress levels, and oral appliances which realign the jaw may also help those suffering from TMJ disorder. In severe cases, surgery to correct the issues affecting the joint itself. Consult with your dentist to determine the best treatment plan for you and your condition.

For more information on jaw pain or TMJ disorder, please contact Dr. Phillip Tully III in Columbus, GA. Call (706) 323-6491 to schedule your appointment with your dentist today!

By Phillip S. Tully III DMD
March 06, 2017
Category: Oral Health
Tags: tmj   jaw pain  

If you are experiencing periodic jaw pain, the cause might be TMJ disorder. TMJ is short for temporomandibular joint. TMJ disorder jaw painoccurs when these joints become irritated, which causes pain and discomfort in the jaw area. Fortunately, there are treatments that can alleviate the pain or for long-lasting relief. For treatment of TMJ disorder in Columbus, GA, Dr. Phillip Tully can help. He treats TMJ and provides a variety of family dentistry services, as well.

What is TMJ Disorder?

TMJ disorder occurs when the temporomandibular joints are irritated. These are the joints that connect the jawbone to the skull on each side of the head. Joint irritation can affect one or both joints in TMJ patients. Additionally, patients with TMJ disorder often experience a locked jaw sensation in which they cannot fully open their mouth. TMJ disorder can develop after sustaining an injury to the jaw or following the onset of arthritis. Other causes include stress, genetics and constantly grinding the teeth or clenching the jaw.

Symptoms of TMJ

There are several symptoms associated with TMJ disorder. In addition to the jaw area, pain or discomfort can be felt in the eyes, ears, mouth and neck. Headaches can also occur in conjunction with TMJ. Some specific symptoms that can occur with TMJ include:

  • Headaches or pain in the temple
  • A shooting pain up the back of the head
  • Ear aches or ear pain not due to an infection
  • A ringing or buzzing sensation in the ears
  • Jaw joints that click, pop or grind together
  • Frequent grinding or clenching of the teeth
  • Stiffness in the neck
  • Shoulder aches
  • Pain behind the eyes
  • A locked jaw
  • Inability to open the mouth all the way

Treatment of TMJ

In Columbus, TMJ disorder can be treated by an experienced dentist. Once the dentist confirms a TMJ diagnosis, they will discuss treatment options. The dentist can evaluate your condition and determine which treatments are most appropriate. Medications or heat and ice therapy are often recommended to alleviate the pain and discomfort that occur during a TMJ flare-up. To correct TMJ problems and prevent future flare-ups, the dentist can fit you with a Gelb appliance to improve jaw alignment.

There are a variety of factors that can cause TMJ disorder. No matter what the cause, the pain and discomfort of TMJ can be unbearable for those who suffer with it. Fortunately, treatments such as the Gelb appliance can provide long-lasting relief from TMJ related pain and discomfort by repositioning the jaw joints. For treatment of TMJ in Columbus, GA, contact the office of Dr. Tully by calling (706) 323-6491.