When people say “I have TMJ” they most likely mean that they are suffering from a TMJ disorder or TMD. Your temporomandibular joints, called the TMJ, make opening and closing your mouth possible. Your TMJ, located on either side of your skull, work together when you chew, speak or swallow and include muscles and ligaments as well as the jaw bone. They also operate the lower jaw- called your mandible- as it moves forward, backward and side to side.
How Does TMJ Work?
Each TMJ has a disc of cartilage between the ball and socket of the joint. This squishy disc supports the load while enabling the jaw to open wide and rotate or glide. Any problem that hinders this complicated system of muscles, ligaments, discs and bones from functioning properly can be called a TMJ disorder.
Dentists like the skilled professionals at Smile Viera in Viera, FL can diagnose and treat this problem to alleviate the discomfort of stop the painful dental issues that TMJ disorders can trigger.
What Causes TMJ Disorders (TMD)?
Possible causes of TMJ disorders include:
- Alignment of jaw and teeth
- Teeth grinding due to stress
How is TMJ Diagnosed?
A dentist must diagnosis the condition before treatment can begin. A typical dental examination includes checking the joints and muscles of the jaw for tenderness, clicking, popping or difficulty of motion.
Depending on the severity of the diagnosis, Smile Viera may refer you to a physician or a dental specialist for more advanced treatment.
How is TMJ Treated?
For basic cases, there are common treatments for TMJ disorders. This step-by-step plan allows you to test out simple remedies at home before moving on to more formalized treatment with your dentist. These steps follow a “less is more” approach in treating TMJ disorders, which includes:
- Eating softer foods
- Avoiding chewing gum and biting your nails
- Applying heat packs to the pain
- Practicing relaxation techniques to alleviate tension in the jaw, including meditation or biofeedback.
If your symptoms are more severe, the following treatments may be recommended by Smile Viera:
- Exercises to strengthen your jaw muscles
- Medications prescribed by your dentist; such as muscle relaxants, analgesics, anti-inflammatory medications
- Anxiety medication
- A mouth guard or bite plate to reduce clenching or grinding of teeth.
In some cases, your dentist may suggest correcting an uneven bite by adjusting or reshapingsome teeth. Orthodontic treatment may be necessary if the problem is severe enough. Your Smile Viera dentist can suggest the most appropriate therapy based on the determined cause. If you are in the Viera, FL area and think you may be suffering from TMJ disorder, any other dental ailment or just need a cleaning or consultation, please schedule your consultation online or call (321) 614-3833.