When the temporomandibular joint, also known as the TMJ, is damaged or fatigued, it can lead to uncomfortable symptoms. With the help of our professional TMJ specialist, Dr. Michaela Tozzi, she can treat your temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMD) with different TMJ therapy options. As a board-certified doctor of dental medicine, she is highly-trained to both diagnose and treat oral health conditions, such as TMD. Dr. Tozzi performs thorough dental exams where she creates custom treatment plans for her patients that focus on their oral health in Las Vegas, NV. As a TMJ specialist, she observes how your jaw’s range of motion is functioning to suggest a treatment option that is right for you.
Understanding the TMJ
The TMJ is a hinge joint that connects the skull directly to the lower jaw. It should be able to freely slide forward when you are chewing or biting. When these muscles and joints are inflamed, damaged, or overworked, our patients in Las Vegas, NV will feel pain or discomfort when performing these actions. TMD refers to any dysfunction that affects the TMJ from working optimally. It is sometimes caused by mechanical issues as it has sliding parts that are separated by shock-absorbing discs that are supposed to move freely. When dysfunction exists, the disc erodes or can shift out of alignment, which can cause locking or clicking sounds in the jaw. Dr. Tozzi helps her patients to treat their jaw pain since untreated TMD can lead to serious health problems.
Signs of TMD
Every patient’s symptoms can vary. Some of the most common TMD symptoms include:
Popping or clicking in the jaw
Frequent earaches and headaches
Pain in the face, ear, neck, or jaw
A stuck or stiff jaw
When you notice any of these symptoms, it’s important to contact our professional team to both diagnose your TMD and to begin TMJ therapy to treat your TMJ pain.
Dr. Tozzi offers TMJ evaluation visits to patients in Las Vegas, NV. During this visit, she will learn about your symptoms and your medical history. Next, she can observe the jaw’s range of motion while listening for any sounds the jaw makes when patients open and close their mouths. She will take x-rays to look closely at the joint. A bite analysis can also be used to choose the best TMJ therapy.
TMJ disorder treatment options
One of the more conservative TMJ therapy options is a night guard. This benefits those who suffer from teeth grinding and clenching. They are custom made to comfortably fit each patient according to their bite. Dr. Tozzi also offers BOTOX® or Dysport®, both injectables can relax muscles and reduce TMJ pain. Laser treatment also can be used to treat TMD. When these treatments aren’t effective enough, Dr. Tozzi can recommend crowns, bridges, or dental appliances. Some patients are prescribed muscle relaxers to reduce pain.
Soft foods to eat for TMJ
One thing you can do for yourself is to choose the right foods that won’t aggravate your TMJ symptoms. Some of the best soft foods for TMJ patients to eat include:
Fruit: Foods such as applesauce, canned fruits, and bananas allow you to get your daily fruit servings.
Vegetables: Cooked peas, asparagus, and carrots are great options. Ultimately, any vegetables that are peeled are easier on the jaw.
Protein: Choose healthy proteins that are easy to chew, such as legumes, chicken, fish, eggs, and tofu.
Dairy: This is a safe category as most foods are soft – so yogurt, milk, and eggs are great options.
Avoid chewing gum or hard candy as this can aggravate the joint and lead to discomfort and TMJ pain too.
Learn more about TMJ therapy
When you’re experiencing frequent headaches or earaches, it’s important to schedule an online consultation with our TMJ specialist, Dr. Michaela Tozzi. When TMD is left untreated, symptoms can quickly worsen. Dr. Tozzi provides TMJ therapy options to her patients in Las Vegas, NV. To learn more about how to relieve your TMJ pain and start TMJ therapy, call our professional team to schedule this virtual consultation.