TMJ (Temporo-Mandibular Joint) Disorder
What Causes TMJ Disorder?
Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ) is a condition that affects the jaw joint and the muscles that control jaw movement. Various factors cause TMJ, including trauma to the jaw, arthritis, misalignment of the teeth or jaw, and stress.
Trauma to the Jaw
Trauma to the jaw, such as from a car accident or sports injury, can damage the jaw joint and the muscles that control jaw movement. This damage can lead to pain, inflammation, and clicking or popping noises when opening or closing the mouth.
Arthritis is a condition that causes inflammation of the joints. It can affect any joint in the body, including the jaw joint. Arthritis can cause pain, stiffness, and swelling in the jaw joint.
Misalignment of the Teeth or Jaw
A misalignment of the teeth or jaw can stress the jaw joint leading to pain, inflammation, and clicking or popping noises when opening or closing the mouth.
Stress can cause the muscles in the jaw to clench or grind. This can put pressure on the jaw joint and lead to pain, inflammation, and clicking or popping noises when opening or closing the mouth.
Bruxism is the habit of grinding or clenching your teeth. It is often done unconsciously, especially during sleep. Bruxism can put pressure on the jaw joint and lead to pain, inflammation, and clicking or popping noises when opening or closing the mouth.
What Are the Symptoms of TMJ Disorder?
Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders can cause a range of uncomfortable and even painful symptoms.
Common TMJ symptoms include
If you experience any of these symptoms it’s important to seek treatment from a doctor or dentist who specializes in TMJ. Treatment for TMJ disorders can vary depending on the severity of the condition and may include lifestyle modifications such as avoiding hard foods or using heat/cold therapy; physical therapy; medications such as muscle relaxants or anti-inflammatories; and dental treatments such as bite guards.
Is TMJ a Permanent Disability?
It’s important to note that while many people experience mild TMJ symptoms that go away on their own with time, more severe cases may require medical intervention. If you are experiencing any of the above-mentioned symptoms it is best to contact a healthcare professional for an evaluation and proper diagnosis.
How Do Dentists Treat TMJ Disorder?
There are several dental treatments available to help manage TMJ symptoms.
Pain relievers and anti-inflammatories are often prescribed to reduce pain and inflammation.
Physical therapy and exercise can also be beneficial in helping to relax tight jaw muscles.
Occlusal splints or orthotic devices may be recommended to help realign the jaw. These are essentially mouth guards that keep the jaw properly positioned while sleeping and prevent damage from teeth-grinding.
Medications such as muscle relaxants or anti-anxiety drugs may be prescribed to help relieve symptoms.
Injections of pain medicine or anesthetic into tender facial muscles can provide relief while the patient exercises their jaw muscles.
What Type of Doctor Is Best to Treat TMJ Dysfunction?
If you're suffering from TMJ pain, finding a dentist specializing in treating this disorder is essential. These dentists have the expertise and experience to diagnose and treat your TMJ pain. With their help, you can relieve your symptoms and get back to living without pain.
Look for a dentist with experience diagnosing and treating TMJ disorders who use a variety of treatments, including pain management, medical therapies, oral appliance therapy, prescription medications, exercises, and relaxation techniques. They may even recommend fixing an uneven bite by adjusting or reshaping some teeth or orthodontic treatment.
Natural Remedies for TMJ Dysfunction
If you're experiencing TMJ pain, there are a number of things you can do to help relieve it and manage symptoms without surgery.
Here's a list of five best practices to control the pain naturally:
Maintain the resting position of your jaw – minimize wide jaw movements such as chewing, yawning, singing and yelling, and try to keep your muscles relaxed.
Correct your posture – sit in a chair with back support and take breaks to improve posture; when driving, set your seat upright; while doing leisure activities like watching TV or reading, use pillows for additional support.
Get a good night's sleep – sleep on your back and use pillows to support your neck; avoid sleeping on your stomach, and if sleeping on your side don't place your hand on your jaw.
Use a hot or cold compress – ice helps reduce swelling and pain, while heat increases blood flow and relaxes jaw muscles; alternate each in 15-20-minute intervals with a light layer between the compress and skin.
Reduce stress – try meditation techniques to loosen up jaw muscles; yoga practices help put less stress on muscles; gardening calms the mind & relaxes the face.
If TMD symptoms don’t improve after trying these methods then consult a dentist experienced in treating this disorder for relief from any underlying cause & better management of symptoms.
Foods to Avoid with TMJ Disorder
Eating certain foods can make TMJ pain worse. To avoid extra strain on your jaw muscles and aggravating pain, it's best to steer clear of foods that are chewy, tough, crunchy or oversized.
Examples of bad food choices include steak, beef jerky, bagels, hard fruits and vegetables like apples, hard nuts, chewy candy such as caramel and taffy, and chewing gum.
These types of foods can put a lot of pressure on the jaw muscles which can cause inflammation and pain. Instead of these foods, opt for softer options such as cooked vegetables with their skins removed, low-fat milk products such as yogurt or cheese, and fish or chicken instead of red meat.
Get TMJ Dysfunction Treatment in Fremont, CA
At Chew Dental Group, our goal is to provide our patients with the highest quality of dental care. Dr. Chew and the staff are skilled professionals who use the most up-to-date technologies for optimal results. We strive to make every visit pleasant and convenient.
Discover the many ways we can help you maintain a healthy smile by calling us today!