What is TMJ?
TMJ stands for the temporomandibular joint, which is the joint between your jaw and skull. TMJ syndrome is a disorder characterized by localized pain around the joint area. There are a variety of causes for TMJ syndrome, but fortunately there are also many ways to combat the pain. TMJ treatment is designed to alleviate the pain in the jaw and stop the behaviors or tendencies that can cause TMJ syndrome.
TMJ is commonly caused by direct jaw injury or damage, but can also arise for other reasons. If you have jaw (or teeth) misalignment, or if you grind your teeth, TMJ syndrome might be a result. Chewing gum and being under a lot of stress can also be common causes.
TMJ syndrome has many signs and symptoms. Whether it is caused by an injury or something else, symptoms can include a popping jaw, pain in the ear/jaw area, chronic headaches, stiff muscles in the jaw, and sometimes locking of the jaw. While these pains may seem subtle, they can begin to add up and interfere with everyday activities and daily life. It is important to notice these signs and get the right treatment if necessary.
TMJ Treatment Options
There are many treatment options for TMJ syndrome, and the right one depends on level of severity and recommendation from a dentist or other medical professional. Some in-home remedies have worked in the past for treating TMJ pain and reducing stress. These options include icing, taking over-the-counter anti-inflammatory or pain relieving drugs, eating softer foods, avoiding chewing gum, massaging the area, and gentle stretching of the jaw and neck. Ultimately, reducing stress and calming tense muscles can lower pain levels and can be a temporary fix for less severe cases of TMJ syndrome.
When these options are not enough, medical treatment may be needed. Long-term relief can be provided by a dental splint, which is designed to reduce tooth grinding and keep the correct alignment of your teeth and jaw. Sometimes physical therapy is useful to gain muscle strength and improve flexibility. In more serious cases, dental surgery could be the best way to fix the problem. Contact us if you believe you are experiencing symptoms of TMJ syndrome and feel you would benefit from getting treatment. We are committed to our patients and want to keep everyone as healthy and comfortable as possible.