TMD Relief During Dental Appointments

When your jaw hurts at the dentist, it can make you reluctant to get dental care done. Holding your mouth open wide for a long period of time can be very painful or even impossible for someone with a TMJ disorder (TMD). It can even lead to worsened temporomandibular joint pain after your visit is over.

The good news is there are solutions for managing temporomandibular joint (TMJ)–related jaw pain so you can still get that cavity filled or crown placed and actually be able to relax during a check-up and cleaning.

Here’s how Ada Smile Place addresses jaw pain during dental appointments.

Solution 1: Find a dentist who understands TMJ disorder in depth.

The dentist you entrust with your oral health significantly impacts how comfortable you feel during your visits. Even if a dentist is compassionate and knowledgeable of dental care, if they don’t understand TMJ function and TMD, their ability to treat the disorder and keep your jaw comfortable during procedures will be limited.

The Ada Smile Place team believes that jaw health and pain-free mobility play an integral role in a person’s ability to achieve and maintain optimal oral health. Untreated TMD is not only painful and debilitating, but it can also lead to dental damage in the form of bruxism. It can make professional dental care difficult because a person may not be able to open their mouth wide or for a long period of time without significant pain in their jaw, head, and neck.

If you’re experiencing jaw pain that makes you reluctant to undergo dental work, our dentists can offer several solutions to help you feel comfortable now and in the future. For immediate dental care needs, like treating a decayed tooth, we can offer sedation coupled with plenty of breaks to relieve jaw tension. We’ll also create a treatment plan to tackle the long-term management of your TMD, such as orthodontic care, customized oral appliances, and an orofacial myofunctional therapy program.

Solution 2: Opt for sedation dentistry to alleviate discomfort.

Sedation dentistry isn’t just for oral surgery or extensive dental reconstructions. This versatile service is perfect for helping people with TMD relax during treatment.

Ada Smile Place offers 2 kinds of sedation dentistry, depending on the severity of your TMD pain.

1. Nitrous Oxide

Nitrous oxide, or “laughing gas,” is a mild form of sedation often used in dentistry to relieve dental anxiety. It creates a relaxing effect while still allowing the person to be conscious during their visit. Best of all, there are no lingering sedative effects, meaning you can get on with your normal daily activities after your visit.

Nitrous oxide is delivered via a special mask that fits comfortably over your nose. Through this, you’ll inhale a mix of oxygen and nitrous oxide.

First, you’ll be given 100% oxygen, and the nitrous oxide will be gradually added as your dentist monitors how you respond. Every patient is different, and you’ll only be given enough nitrous oxide to achieve a state of relaxation. These levels will be monitored throughout your appointment to ensure you continue feeling comfortable without dizziness or overly sleepy feelings.

Once your treatment is finished, your dentist will reverse the process by reducing the nitrous oxide and increasing oxygen until you’re back to 100% oxygen. Your team will ensure you feel alert and balanced before you get up from the chair and head to the front desk to check out.

2. Oral Sedation

Oral conscious sedation is stronger than nitrous oxide and more suitable for people with moderate to severe TMD pain. It won’t put you into a deep sleep like general anesthesia, but you will feel groggy and may take a nap during your appointment. Even if you fall asleep, you’ll be in a light sleep that only takes a gentle nudge for you to wake up.

Several oral medications are used for this type of sedation, and your dentist will choose the right prescription based on your needs and medical history. Your dentist may also need to collaborate with your primary care physician if you have a complex medical history or have shown sensitivity to sedatives.

After a thorough health evaluation, your dentist will prescribe a safe sedative you can pick up at a local pharmacy. Most sedatives are taken about an hour before your appointment, and you’ll need someone to drive you to and from your appointment.

Your dentist will check in with you during your treatment to see how you feel, but you probably won’t remember it. In fact, by the time the procedure is finished, it can feel as though you’ve only been in your dentist’s chair for hardly any time at all.

Pain-Free Dental Care at Ada Smile Place

You don’t need to avoid the dentist because of jaw pain and discomfort. Your Ada Smile Place dentist can help you get immediate relief for crucial procedures that can’t wait, and can create an effective treatment program so your TMJ pain will no longer need to be a permanent fixture in your life.

Schedule your TMJ disorder consultation at our family-friendly Ada, OK, office.