TMJ disorder is one of those terms used by the average person to describe jaw pain or the many problems associated with this area. A correct diagnosis is vital to determining if that clicking sound you hear when you chew or the discomfort around your jaw or neck is indeed TMJ Disorder. A visit with our dentist serving Chicago IL is your first step to a correct diagnosis and course of treatment.
TMJ Disorder is a term that can broadly cover many problems that are affected by the temporamandibular joint. This is the joint of the jaw just in front of your ear. You can feel this joint move if you place your finger just above your jaw in front of your ear and open and close your mouth.
This joint is surrounded by muscle, ligaments and bones. Every time you speak, chew, yawn or even do something as benign as rest your chin in your hand, you are putting some type of pressure on this joint. When the joint becomes inflamed, the resulting discomfort can affect not only your jaw, but your head, neck, throat or face.
There are many options for treatment depending on the level of severity of TMJ disorder and the underlying cause. For example, a missing tooth can result in TMJ disorder as chewing and speaking are modified to compensate for the space where a tooth should be. Or maybe your bite needs to be adjusted due to a dental shift that has taken place over time. For some, grinding and clenching during sleep can create the discomfort that affects not only the TMJ, but the neck and head as well.
Treatment options vary depending on your diagnosis. For a milder condition, moist heat or a cold pack to relieve the inflammation might help. Eating softer foods, avoid chewing gum and taking aspirin or ibuprofen to reduce inflammation are temporary solutions, but will generally offer some immediate relief.
Your dentist might suggest fitting you with a splint or mouth guard to alleviate the problem of clenching and grinding your teeth. For those who bite and grind their teeth due to stress or anxiety, relaxation techniques might help.
There are many different options from physical therapy to employing the use of laser and wave length technology to relieve TMJ. Surgery is usually the final option for consideration, but may be necessary for extreme cases. A proper diagnosis is the first step, and following the advice from your dental professional will bring relief.
Contact ORA Dental Studio at 312-328-9007 to learn more about TMJ disorder and to schedule a consultation.