According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, more than 10 million people suffer from temporomandibular joint disorder. The temporomandibular joint (TMJ), also abbreviated as TMJD or TMD, is the joint that connects your lower jaw to your skull. This abbreviation has been used to represent a group of health problems associated with the jaw over the years. This guide will provide you with all the vital information about TMJ and why you should have your TMD treatment at the Carthay TMJ treatment center.
Causes of TMJ Disorder
In many scenarios, the exact causes of a TMJ disorder may not be known but, other factors usually play a key role, such as jaw or joint trauma and other health conditions such as:
- Erosion of the joint
- Problems with the jaw structure at birth
- Habitual clenching or grinding of the teeth
Moreover, other triggers of a TMJ disorder have not been proven yet to be true. They include inadequate sleep, poor diet, prolonged stress, and prolonged use of orthodontic braces.
Symptoms of TMJD
The severity of TMJD symptoms typically depends on the exact cause of your condition. Though the main symptom of TMJD is excessive pain in the jaw and surrounding muscles, there are also other symptoms usually related to TMJD disorder that include:
- Locking of the jaw
- Popping or clicking sound from the jaw
- Pain in the neck or face
- Stiffening of the jaw muscles
- Limited jaw movement
- Abnormal alignment of the upper and lower teeth due to a shift in the jaw, also known as malocclusion.
TMJD symptoms may be present on just one side of the face or both.
TMJ Dysfunction Diagnosis
During diagnosis of a TMJ disorder, your doctor may press the inside of your jaw to check for signs of swelling and tenderness. They may also check for other signs like irregular popping, motion, grinding, and clicking. You may also be asked to bite down on a dental probe to measure how far you can open your jaw and examine your jaw muscle strength. In some incidences, your doctor may also take X-rays of your mouth to check for a displaced TMJ disc or signs of arthritis.
How Are TMJ Disorders Treated?
Normally, the treatment for your TMJ disorder is mainly dependent on the severity of your symptoms and the main cause of the problem. To ensure effective TMD treatment, your doctor will recommend lifestyle changes such as:
- Performing gentle jaw stretches
- Minimizing the grinding of your jaw while awake
- Wearing protective jaw guards to prevent you from clenching your jaw while you’re asleep
Can You Prevent TMJD?
Yes, there are possible solutions to avoiding a TMJ disorder, like trying to stop clenching your teeth, especially when you are under stress or anxiety. You may also take muscle relaxants or wear a protective mouthguard while you sleep.
Limited jaw movement, jaw discomfort, and other TMJD symptoms can be really frustrating. That is why, at the Smile Perfector Dental Group located in the Carthay neighborhood office of Los Angeles, California, we are fully dedicated to providing you with effective treatment for your TMJ dysfunction. Dr. David Shouhed, DDS, and the experienced team of dentists will provide you with personalized TMJ treatment to completely relieve you from TMJ pain. To seek assistance for your TMJD problems, you can schedule a consultation online or contact our offices.