To understand TMJ disorder, it is important to first understand the unique temporomandibular joints on either side of the head. These are the joints and jaw muscles that people use to open and close their mouths when talking, laughing, eating or even yawning!
Connecting the upper and lower jaw, the temporomandibular joints are made up of the rounded bone of the upper jaw and a disc-like structure made of cartilage. Ligaments in the head and neck hold the joint together and help guide the movements of the jaw.
TMJ disorder is an umbrella term that refers to any problem that causes pain in the jaw and prevents this complex joint from working properly.
It is worth noting that TMJ disorder is roughly twice as common in women as it is in men. Regardless of gender, however, the exact cause of TMJ disorder can often be difficult to determine. A patient’s jaw pain may be due to a combination of factors, such as:
Having a conversation with your dentist about TMJ pain can help pinpoint the likely origin of your discomfort and help him or her develop a treatment plan that best suits your needs.
According to a report published by the U.S. National Institutes of Health, over 10 million Americans may be affected by TMJ disorder. Common symptoms of the disorder include:
While mild jaw pain does not always indicate TMJ disorder and can go away on its own in a day or two, if any of the above symptoms persist for days or even weeks you should contact a dental professional about TMJ therapy in Lansdale.
There is no single cure for TMJ disorder. Instead, when you visit Brookwood Dental Associates for TMJ therapy, our experienced dentists will create a personalized treatment plan just for you to relieve painful symptoms.
For minor cases, our dentists may recommend a combination of over-the-counter pain medication, applying heat or icepacks to the area, and special exercises designed to increase the flexibility and mobility of the jaw joints.
If you are grinding your teeth at night, a custom-made mouth guard can help prevent your jaw from clenching while you sleep and protect your teeth from damage.
If you are suffering from a more severe case of TMJ, laser therapy may be an option to help increase the range of motion in the jaw and prevent pain and swelling.
Finally, restorative dental work to replace missing teeth and realign the jaw can often provide dramatic relief from TMJ pain as well.
Living with TMJ pain can negatively affect your daily happiness and keep you from living life to the fullest. If you are seeking relief from any of the unpleasant symptoms described above, do not hesitate to call our compassionate and experienced team at Brookwood Dental Associates today!