TMJ (Temporamandibular Joint)
Most people may not commonly think much of their temporo mandibular joints (TMJ), but these are the two parts of our bodies we use the most on average every day. You use them whenever you talk, yawn, chew or swallow. Located at the base of your skull, the TMJ acts basically as a sliding hinge that connects your jawbone to the skull with a joint on both sides of the jaw. If you feel severe pain or discomfort in your jaw, however, this can be a sign of temporo mandibular disorder (TMD), which is when the TMJ begins malfunctioning. It affects the muscles that control the jaw and facial nerves connected to it.
An estimated 12 percent of all people in the U.S. (over 10 million per year) experience TMD at any one time, but many all too often try to ignore it or put off asking for help until after symptoms have advanced. At Raptou Family Dental, our team specializes in TMJ treatment and spares no effort to make sure you have all the facts. If you or a loved one are suffering from jaw pain, suspect it may be TMD, and wish to learn more about your options, please schedule an appointment to discuss it with Dr. Raptou or at (614) 427-0449.
What Are the Symptoms of TMD?
Exercises to Help With TMD
Although these simple exercises you can do at home are by no means guaranteed to relieve TMJ pain, they have been known to help. These include:
Treatment Options for TMJ Disorder
Your treatment options may vary from everyone else’s, depending on your health, medical history, tolerance to specific medications and mouth appliances, or how severe the disorder has become. The most common methods involve stress management techniques to rest your jaw joints and decrease teeth grinding or clenching. Often, the simplest solutions can come in the form of minor lifestyle changes.
Some patients may find relief through over-the-counter medications or muscle relaxants, but these are not a substitute for long-term treatment. They will only temporarily alleviate your pain and will not correct the underlying causes of TMD. Non-invasive treatments can also be employed, such as a mouth-guard (usually worn at night) or protective splint on your teeth to prevent grinding.
A popular choice is orthodontic braces, specifically in cases where TMD is the result of bite misalignment or malocclusion. These braces will re-align your bite, gradually and painlessly correcting the position of the teeth and jaw. This can potentially stop ongoing symptoms in their tracks before they have a chance to progress.
Whether or not orthodontic treatment may be beneficial to help alleviate TMJ symptoms must be determined on a case by case basis.
Remember, staying silent about TMJ pain does not help. If you are experiencing jaw discomfort, you can set up an appointment to discuss a treatment plan by calling (614) 427-0449.