TMJ Treatment

Phoenix TMJ Treatment

What is TMJ disorder?

Are you in need of TMJ treatment? Temporomandibular joint disorder is more commonly known as TMD or TMJ dysfunction, or TMJ syndrome. Simply put, TMJ disorder occurs when the hinge or Temporomandibular joint connecting the upper and lower jaw malfunctions. This hinge is responsible for moving the lower jaw from side-to-side, forward and backward, chew and yawn, and it enables us to talk. It is considered to be one of the most complex joints in the body because of its hinge and sliding motions. Additionally, the tissue of the temporomandibular joint is different compared to load-bearing joints, such as the knee or hip. This poses a tremendous challenge to both health care providers and their patients when problems occur.

What are the causes of TMJ disorder?

TMJ disorder occurs when the temporomandibular joint that connects the lower jaw (mandible jaw) malfunctions. You can locate the joint by placing your fingers in front of your ears and by opening and closing your mouth.

In some cases, trauma to the jaw or temporomandibular joint may be the cause for TMJ disorders. It is estimated that over 10 million Americans suffer from TMJ, and it is more common in women than in men. Scientists are exploring a possible connection between female hormones and TMJ disorders. Symptoms seem to begin with no obvious reason for many people.

What are the signs and symptoms for TMJ disorder?

  • Do you grind or clench your teeth?
  • Do you have sore, stiff muscles around your jaws when you wake up?
  • Does clenching your teeth cause you pain?
  • Does it hurt to eat, yawn, or to open your mouth?
  • Do you suffer from stress, and does it make clenching your teeth painful?
  • Have you ever injured your head, jaws, or neck?
  • Do you suffer from frequent neck or headaches?
  • Do you suffer from arthritis with your other joints?
  • Are your teeth, loose, broken or worn, or sensitive?
  • Do you have difficulty using your front teeth to bite or tear food?
  • Does your jaw pop, click, catch, grate, or lock when opening your mouth?
  • Do your teeth occasionally meet differently?
  • Do your teeth no longer touch when you bite?

Answering “yes” to many of these questions may be an indication of TMJ disorder. The better you understand TMJ disorders, the closer you will be to getting help.

How do dentists provide TMJ treatment?

There is still no single cure for TMJ, but there are different methods for TMJ treatment that can help reduce your symptoms and pain significantly. One of the methods for pain relief is to wear an appliance called a bite plate or splint. This appliance is custom-made to fit over your upper teeth, and it will prevent you from grinding against the lower teeth.

There are also some home remedies that you can try to manage your pain and eliminate muscle spasm. Applying moist heat, taking over-the-counter pain-relievers or anti-inflammatory drugs can help. There are also medications like muscle-relaxants that can help.

Relaxation and guided imagery can be helpful in dealing with the pain that accompanies TMJ dysfunction. Deep, slow breathing enhances relaxation and helps to regulate the pain sensations. Try yoga, massage, or learn how to meditate, which will decrease your level of stress.

Give us a call to discuss how we can help you with your TMJ treatment plan. Our initial goals are to decrease the muscle spasm and joint pain. TMJ treatment works best with a team approach combined with professional care and self-care.

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