What is TMJ?
Temporomandibular Joint Disorders, conditions that affect the temporomandibular joint, impact millions of individuals in the United States. Although almost anyone can suffer from TMJ, the condition seems to be more common in women than men. Our temporomandibular joint helps us to chew, talk, and more by allowing the jaw to move up, down, and side to side. With TMJ disorders, these functions become more painful and difficult to do. There are a few different conditions that make up TMJ disorders, including degenerative/inflammatory joints, internal derangement of the joint, and myofascial pain.
What causes TMJ?
Unfortunately, there is no specific testing that can specify what causes individual TMJ disorders. In fact, some affected patients will never get to the root of the problem. However, there are a few common causes of TMJ disorders, including arthritis, poor posture, facial trauma, bruxism, anxiety, and more.
READ MORE: Everything You Need to Know about TMJ Disorders
What are symptoms of TMJ?
TMJ disorders can look different in every patient. For some, they have very mild symptoms and never even know they have been affected. However, others suffer from serious headaches, neck pain, and more. If you believe you are suffering from TMJ disorders, these are a few symptoms you should be watching for:
- Tenderness of jaw
- Restricted jaw movement
- Popping sound when opening and closing mouth
- Stiffness of jaw
- Ear aches
- Chewing problems
Treatments for TMJ
Because the temporomandibular joint is so complex, it can be difficult to diagnose and treat TMJ disorders. While you may think surgery will fix your disorder, we recommend those options being your last resort. With a variety of medications and pain relief remedies, there are a variety of ways to treat your TMJ disorder from the comfort of your own home.
If you are suffering from TMJ disorders, you may be on the hunt for medication that will help alleviate your pain. Luckily, there are a variety of over the counter medications such as muscle relaxers and anti-inflammatory drugs. Schedule a consultation with our team to discuss which medication may work best for you.
It may sound odd to invest in therapeutic options to treat TMJ disorders. However, therapy may be just what you’re looking for. Oftentimes, TMJ disorders can be the result of a buildup of stress and anxiety, leading to grinding your teeth. Night guards are a form of therapy that will help to alleviate the habit of grinding your teeth while sleeping. On the other hand, you may consider visiting counseling sessions for stress and anxiety. Therapists can help recommend ways to relieve your stress, leading to less pain from your disorder.
While there are multiple ways to treat a TMJ disorder, the pain you are experiencing may come back to self care. By taking time out of each day to focus on your health and well being, you could help alleviate some of the pain your disorder is causing. A few great self care practices to implement into your daily schedule are:
- Cold compressions
- Jaw exercises
- Stress relieving activities (reading, yoga, etc.)
- Avoiding crunchy foods
When to Visit the Dentist
If you are suffering from jaw pain or other TMJ symptoms, do not wait to contact our office. Although TMJ disorders can be mild for some, others may suffer from more serious symptoms, resulting in the need for surgical treatments. By scheduling an appointment with our team, we can help diagnose and recommend treatments for TMJ disorder.
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