Understanding and Dealing with TMJ Disorders

Understanding and Dealing with TMJ DisordersThe TMJ in the term TMJ disorders stands for the temporomandibular joint. This joint allows the jaw to open and close, slide back and forth, and permits chewing, swallowing, and talking. The end result is that it is one of the most frequently used joints in the entire human body.

TMJ disorders can develop when the articular disc that conditions the working parts of the jaw and ensures a smooth gliding movement begins to wear or shifts out of place. As the jaw closes, the disc will move back into place with a popping noise. The nerves and joint can become inflamed due to the lack of cartilage and cause pain and sensitivity.

TMJ disorders can often be extremely painful and even debilitating, with its sufferers experiencing a wide range of symptoms from migraines to neck or ear pain. Decreased hearing or vision, jaw joint stiffness, and pain in shoulders and neck are also possible.

Moist heat can sometimes alleviate the pain and stiffness associated with TMJ disorders, as can NSAIDs, or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Relaxation techniques can help ease the tension that may contribute to tight jaw muscles. Sufferers of TMJ disorders should avoid activities that further irritate the joint, such as chewing gum, ice, or eating similar hard or chewy foods.

If symptoms of TMJ disorders continue for more than a few days, it is important that you visit our Los Angeles cosmetic dentist for a full evaluation to determine the source of the problem. Without treatment, TMJ disorders can progress, and the TMJ may deteriorate further.

Treatments for TMJ disorders may include an orthopedic splint or mouth guard, muscle relaxants, jaw exercises, corticosteroids, or cognitive behavioral therapy. Surgical correction may be considered for some cases. Our Los Angeles dentist will assess your unique situation and determine the appropriate course of treatment for you.

Source: Los Angeles Dentist

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