August 2, 2018
A great deal of the human body works on a system of joints, ligaments and other connective tissue that allow for movement. An example is your jaw structure. The upper and lower parts have a place of intersection called the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), which provides the hinge that allows the two parts to separate and then meet again repeatedly. What happens, though, when this joint gets worn down? Your local dentist says there are certain signs that will alert you of a problem. Learn what the TMJ symptoms are as you continue reading.
Common Symptoms of TMJ Disorder
When your TMJ is starting to wear, you may notice the following signs:
- Locking of the jaw
- Jaw pain or tenderness
- Difficult or painful chewing
- Aching throughout the face
- Aching pain in or around your ear
- Pain in one or both of the TMJ joints
What’s the Cause of TMJ Wear?
The TMJ is a dynamic complex that allows for more than just the two-way motion of a normal hinge. Instead, it also can produce a sliding motion. Thus, the parts of the bones that interact with the joint are covered with cartilage that allow for the multi-directional movement, and they are separated by a small disk that normally makes the action smooth.
Problems with the TMJ can arise if the following happens:
- The cartilage is damaged by arthritis
- The joint is damaged by direct trauma to the area
- The disk erodes or moves out of its proper alignment
When Should You Visit Your Dentist for Treatment?
If you’ve tried some of the self-care methods like applying a cold compress, taking over-the-counter medication, eating softer foods and performing jaw exercises, and your pain persists, then you should reach out to your dentist for help. With TMJ treatments administered by your local professional, you can finally start to see some results.
One of the more effective treatments is to be fitted with a custom-created oral appliance that you’ll wear at night to prevent clenching of the jaw and teeth grinding, two main contributors to TMJ disorder. The appliance will help to properly align your jaw to prevent both joint and teeth wear.
For more advanced cases, surgery may be recommended, and your dentist will inform you of what type will be best for your situation. The key, though, is to recognize the symptoms using the information provided above and to seek help so that you can get relief. By taking the proactive step of contacting your TMJ expert, you can eventually eliminate your pain and enjoy the normal function of your jaw.
About the Author
A graduate of the University of Southern California School of Dentistry, Dr. Pamela West is an expert in treating jaw issues. She has received extensive training in TMJ Therapy and shares her wealth of knowledge with her patients so they can get the relief they need. Dr. West successfully treats TMJ disorder at iSleep Solutions, and she can be reached for more information through her website.
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