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TMJ / TMD


Woman holding jaw due to TMJ painAround 12 percent of Americans suffer from temporomandibular joint disorders. Understanding the causes and symptoms of TMD is essential for successful treatment.

What is Temporomandibular Disorder


The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is a hinge joint that connects your lower jaw to your skull. This joint allows you to move your jaw upward, downwards, sideways, backward, and forward. When this joint becomes damaged or diseased, it can lead to localized pain called temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD/TMJD).

Temporomandibular joint disorder is an umbrella term which encompasses all discomforts related to the joint.

Signs of Temporomandibular Joint Disorder


Temporomandibular joint disorder can manifest in different ways. Some include:
•  Jaw pain or stiff or sore jaw muscles.
•  Clicking, grating, or popping noise of the jaw.
•  Inability to open or close your mouth (lockjaw).
•  Facial ache and swelling.
•  Headaches and migraines.
•  Toothache pain.
•  Ear pain.
•  Ringing sound in the ears.
•  Difficulty in chewing.
•  Shoulder pain.
•  Bouts of dizziness and vertigo.

Causes of Temporomandibular Joint Disorder


Temporomandibular joint disorders may be caused by single or multiple factors. There is no set cause for TMD but there are several risk factors that may result in or exacerbate its symptoms.
•  Teeth grinding or bruxism.
•  Stress or anxiety.
•  Trauma to the jaw.
•  Inaccurate bite.
•  Chronic inflammatory musculoskeletal disorders including arthritis.
•  Orthodontic braces.
•  Poor posture.
•  Too much gum chewing.

Treatment of Temporomandibular Joint Disorder


Temporomandibular joint disorder can respond well to home, therapeutic, and sometimes, surgical treatments.

Home Treatments

Some home remedies can be effective in reducing the discomfort by TMJ:
•  Avoid overusing your jaw muscles: To reduce symptoms of TMJ, you should practice becoming more aware of negative habits, like clenching your jaw, or chewing on hard things like ice and pen caps. Eat soft or pureed food for some time and cut your food into small pieces. Also, avoid very sticky food like chewing gum or caramel popcorn.
•  Stretching Exercises: Dr. John P. Poovey and Dr. Wilcox will recommend you some stretching and massage exercises for your jaw.
•  Applying Hot/Cold Packs: Applying heat or cold to your jaw may help to relieve you of some pain.
•  Good Posture: Do not rest your chin on your hand and don’t hold your phone between your shoulder and ear.
•  Keep Your Teeth Unclenched: Keep your teeth a bit apart to alleviate the pressure on your jaw.

In many cases, TMJ disorders go away with these simple home treatments. If the symptoms persist, we may recommend you other treatment options.

Medication

Some over-the-counter medication can help alleviate TMJ pain. These include anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen, antidepressants like amitriptyline, and some muscle relaxants.

Therapy

Some therapeutic treatments include:
•  Night Mouthguards or Oral Splints: These are oral appliances that are worn over the teeth either during the night or during the entire day. These lessen the pressure exerted on your jaw.
•  Dental Restorations: We may also recommend replacing your missing or misaligned teeth with crowns, dental bridges, braces, and implants to correct your bite.

Surgical Intervention

If the above treatments do not work, surgery may sometimes become necessary. Conditions that call for surgical intervention include damage to the joint. In extremely severe cases, the joint may need to be replaced. However, this procedure is very risky and can do more harm than good if not done properly. This is why TMJ replacement surgery is hardly ever done.

TMJ disorders are often non-serious and temporary. With some care and proper treatment, they can disappear after a few months. However, sometimes, the symptoms are very long-lasting and quite severe. When this happens, it can reduce the quality of your life. Therefore, the condition should be diagnosed as soon as possible.

If you experience any of the above symptoms, whether they are mild or severe, call us at (970) 822-7622 today.

Office:

2412 Patterson Rd. #7
Grand Junction, CO 81505-1259


Phone:

(970) 822-7622

Hours:

Mon: 9am - 4pm
Tue - Thur: 8am - 4pm
Fri: 8am - 3pm



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