The TMJ or Temporomandibular Joint is the connecting link between the lower jaw and the skull. It is accountable for all types of lower jaw movements, such as biting and chewing food, yawning, talking, laughing, etc. Sometimes, there could be complications in the TMJ that lead to severe pain and discomfort near the joint, especially when you move the lower jaw. If the disorder is left untreated for a long time, it could result in Temporomandibular Joint Disorder or TMD.
What leads to TMD?
TMD is most often the result of excessive stress applied to the TMJs. Whenever the patient snacks too frequently, chew a lot of gum, clenches their jaws subconsciously, etc., the joint's tissues go through severe stress. When this occurs regularly, there are high chances for the patient to develop a painful and uncomfortable condition called TMD. In addition to this, severe external pressure applied on the TMJ, external trauma to the joint, arthritis near the TMJ, etc., can lead to the condition.
What are the signs of Temporomandibular Joint Disorder?
- Severe pain in the TMJ while moving the jaw, especially while opening it wide, biting and chewing food, yawning, etc.
- Restricted movement of the lower jaw
- Trouble with biting and chewing food
- Soreness or pain in the shoulders and neck when TMD is left undiagnosed for a long period
- Popping sound while moving the jaw
How is TMD treated?
Since the primary cause behind TMD is the unwanted stress exerted on the joints, the best strategy to treat it is to keep the TMJ relaxed. Subconscious clenching of the jaw while asleep can apply a lot of stress on the joints. Hence, we recommend a customized night-time bruxism guard to keep you from subconsciously clenching your jaws. It also minimizes the chances of grinding your teeth, which otherwise could lead to excessive wear of the teeth.
At home, you may consider massaging your TMJs and surrounding tissues regularly to relieve them of the stress. Also, the dentist will thoroughly diagnose your condition and discuss how you can benefit from massage therapy. If all these means do not yield the desired results, we may have to perform oral surgery to alter the alignment of the lower jaw.
To have a consultation with our team of dentists, please call our office at (770) 995-0538 or schedule an online consultation, and we'll guide you further.