What is TMJ and How Can I Treat It?

Thinking a TMJ diagnosis just may be in your near future? TMJ stands for temporomandibular joints, which are the joints located on either side of your head and connect your jaw and skull together. These joints play a very important role when it comes to opening your mouth, closing your mouth, chewing and talking. Some of the more common symptoms include a clicking or popping sound when opening and closing the mouth, discomfort when the mouth is open wide, headaches, earaches and an overall feeling of tenderness in the jaw area.

What causes TMJ?

Wanting to understand what is causing your jaw problems? A TMJ diagnosis is common when experiencing the above symptoms. Since it is not always obvious what causes TMJ, it is necessary for a dental professional to perform an overall examination in order to come up with a proper diagnosis. Some of the more common causes include suffering some type of injury to the jaw area, clenching or grinding one’s teeth, experiencing jaw alignment problems or being diagnosed with arthritis.

According to the American Dental Association, the two temporomandibular joints are among the most complex joints in the body, and they work together in a delicate balance with muscles, ligaments, cartilage and jawbones. When a problem prevents these parts from working together properly, pain may result.

How can TMJ be treated?

Once a dental patient has been diagnosed with TMJ, a dental professional can provide them with a proper treatment plan. The following is a list of three of the more common types of TMJ treatments available nowadays.

Minor to moderate TMJ

Minor TMJ cases are often treated using natural approaches. These alternative methods include performing certain muscle exercises that support a healthy jaw, avoiding eating any hard or sticky foods that can irritate the jaw and using cold and hot compresses in order to minimize any discomfort or pain.

Moderate to severe TMJ

Moderate cases of TMJ can be treated using certain medications and certain types of injections. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications are commonly prescribed, as well as muscle relaxers, both of which help to relax the jaw area. Corticosteroid injections are also an option, as they help to reduce any pain or swelling located in the jaw area.

All types of TMJ

All types of TMJ can often be treated by using orthodontics. Orthodontic treatment helps to correct any underlying causes of TMJ and can include wearing night guards and wearing braces. The goal is to help reposition the jaw area in order to move it back into its proper position. When the jaw and teeth are in their proper alignment, dental patients are less likely to experience any TMJ-related problems.

Do not let your symptoms worsen

When TMJ is not treated in a timely manner, it will continue to cause tooth and jaw alignment problems. It can potentially lead to chronic jaw pain and ongoing headaches, which is something you want to avoid happening. This makes it essential for you to contact a dental professional so you can be properly diagnosed and receive a treatment plan that works for you.

Request an appointment here: https://overlandparkdentist.com or call Asha Dental at (913) 971-4163 for an appointment in our Leawood office.

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