The Temporomandibular joint(TMJ) is the compound joint in your jaw responsible for allowing motion, chewing, and biting strength. Problems with this joint can occur if you have an uneven bite, if your jaw is injured, or if you have a tendency to grind or clench your teeth. All the aforementioned issues place additional strain on the jaw muscles, which can cause them to become tight and inflammed. As a result, patients complain about pain, clicking, grating noises, headaches, and a difficulty opening their mouth wide. However, your dentist can help alleviate these symptoms through specialized treatments.
Why seek TMJ treatment?
- Treatment for TMJ will eliminate pain and improve other symptoms such as clicking, locked jaw, and headaches, as well as give you the ability to open wider.
- If left untreated, a misaligned jaw will continue to cause other dental issues over time. These can include prematurely worn teeth, a higher risk of tooth decay, and irreversible joint damage.
- Getting treatment for your TMJ will increase your quality of life. TMJ can cause several persistent and debilitating symptoms if left untreated.
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Did You Know?
It is estimated that 10 million Americans are affected by TMJ disorders, with the condition being more commonly seen in women.
The TMJ Treatment Process:
The first step in your TMJ treatment is to schedule a consultation with your dentist for an appropriate diagnosis. Your dentist will discuss your symptoms and your medical history, examine your bite, and take x-rays for an in-depth look. Based on the type and severity of your condition, your dentist will then make suggestions for treatment. One of the first things that is recommended is stress management to reduce teeth clenching or grinding.
This may also be accompanied by a custom mouthguard that you can wear at night to prevent unconscious grinding. If your bite is misaligned, possible treatments could include orthodontics to align your teeth, prosthodontics to add balance to your bite, or reshaping your teeth to help them line up evenly. Another possible option is medical Botox injections to relax the strained jaw muscles and relieve tension. Finally, in extremely severe cases surgery may be needed to repair the joints.