What is TMJ Disorder?

TMJ disorder occurs when there is a problem that prevents muscles, ligaments, discs and/or bones from working properly. Temporomandibular joints, called TMJ, are the joints and muscles that enable the jaw to open and close. TMJ are used when speaking, eating, chewing, and swallowing, so any deficiencies can create problems. Each TMJ has a disc between the ball and socket, which eases tension while enabling the jaw to open widely and rotate efficiently.

What Causes TMJ Disoder?

TMJ disorder can be caused by a variety of problems, though most frequently it is the result of arthritis, dislocation, trauma, alignment issues, stress, jaw-clenching, or teeth grinding. Before seeking treatment, you will need to be properly diagnosed by a dentist or doctor. The test for TMJ includes checking joints and muscles for pain, tenderness, clicking, popping, or limited mobility of the jaw.

What To Do If You Are Diagnosed With TMJ?

If you are diagnosed with TMJ, there are several steps you can take to help alleviate the symptoms of TMJ. By eating softer foods, avoiding chewing gum, using heat pads, and engaging in relaxation techniques, you might be able to lessen the pain without any medical intrusion. For more severe cases, your dentist may suggest physical therapy, medications such as analgesics, anti-anxiety, anti-inflammatory, or muscle relaxers. Many people who suffer from TMJ find that sleeping with a mouth guard or bite plate prevents them from jaw-clenching and teeth-grinding, which in turn alleviates the severity of their symptoms.

If you’re experiencing facial pain along your jawline, check with you dentist to see if you may have TMJ disorder. While TMJ is treatable without the intervention of a doctor or dentist, proper and swift diagnosis can play a large part in determining which treatment plan will work best for your particular situation. While TMJ disorder can be incredibly painful, most sufferers are able to manage their TMJ disorder with the help of their dentist or doctor.