3 things to know if you think you might have TMJ
If you are experiencing TMJ symptoms, your discomfort can range from being a nuisance to truly affecting your quality of life. TMJ pain generally originates in the jaw as it is caused by problems with the temporomandibular joint.
This essential hinge connects both portions of the jaw. When it is functioning properly, it should move smoothly, making talking, yawning, and eating a painless experience.
However, when something is wrong with this important joint, your body will let you know in a host of ways. Know the following three things about dealing with TMJ to find a solution to your problem.
1. What are the symptoms?
TMJ affects everyone differently and there are a host of symptoms that could be affecting you.
When the jaw is misaligned, over time, pain radiates from the affected area and can actually cause pain in other parts of the body.
- Headaches or migraines
- Jaw pain, clicking, popping or locking
- Earaches,?ringing or congestion
- Neck pain
- Sore or aching shoulders
- Back pain or postural problems
could all stem from a problem with your jaw, especially when there appears to be no reason for those other types of pain.
2. To find treatment, you need an accurate diagnosis
When you are dealing with pain in your jaw and symptoms associated with TMJ, ?a TMJ specialist can help you with a diagnosis. Through the use of bite analysis, x-rays or CT scans, and physical examination, a TMJ dentist will be able to evaluate your jaw and pinpoint the problem.
3. Know your TMJ treatment options
Once your dentist has discovered what is causing your TMJ disorder,?the next step is treatment to?reduce your pain and ease your symptoms.
- Phase 1 TMJ treatment is all about restoring physiological health to your jaw. This is done by relaxing your jaw muscles with the use of a TENS machine. TENS stands for Transcutaneous Electro Neural Stimulation. The TENS machine releases mild pulses on your facial muscles to relax the muscles of your face and jaw. Once relaxed, the most optimal?position for your jaw can be determined. An orthotic is then used to allow for your jaw to close?in a position?where, the muscles are at an ideal length.
- Phase 2 TMJ treatment is about how to keep your jaw in its optimal position for the longer term. This can involve dental restorations such as implants, veneers or dental bonding to replace missing teeth or correct the shape or size of teeth. Orthodontics can straighten teeth or reshape a too small jaw. Sometimes chiropractic care can help realign the way you head sits on top of your spine. A full mouth reconstruction may be required if you have ground your teeth through nighttime teeth grinding – also known as bruxism.
If you would like to learn more about TMJ, its causes and treatment, please download my free e-book.