What You Didn’t Know About the TMJ Disorder

Many of us have or at least know someone who has suffered from TMJ (temporomandibular disorder). Did you know that it is a chronic jaw joint dysfunction and not a dental problem, as most people believe? If you are suffering from this condition, then chances are your teeth may be pushed too far back in the mouth, or your bite may be off-center. Thus, it can lead to pain on both sides of the face and headaches. It’s due to pressure on the nerves in the head. A Dundalk MD TMJ specialist will begin by understanding the nature of your condition before the treatment. Visit the best center for TMJ in Dundalk, Maryland, to begin the process of better dental health.

What Causes TMJ Disorder?

Many factors contribute to TMJ disorder, such as trauma, arthritis, habits like grinding teeth at night. It can also be an infection within the jaw joint injury to muscles of mastication that control the jaw movement.

What are the Symptoms?

Symptoms can vary significantly from person to person. However, common symptoms include pain in the jaw joint, clicking or popping when opening or closing the mouth, difficulty chewing, a locked jaw, and discomfort or pain in the neck, face, or head.

How is it Treated?

Treatment for TMJ disorder depends on the severity of symptoms. It may include a visit to a physician to assess the root cause of the condition, medications, physical therapy, wearing a splint or bite guard at night while sleeping, and even surgery in extreme cases.

Steroid injection is also a standard treatment for TMJ disorder. It is a procedure in which a steroid medication is injected into the joint to reduce inflammation and pain. Some doctors will even prescribe antibiotics that kill the bacteria causing the infection.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) also works as a treatment for TMJ disorder. It is a type of psychotherapeutic approach that helps people change their thoughts and behaviors that interfere with the quality of their life. CBT focuses on how thoughts, feelings, and behaviors affect each other. It allows people to talk through any distress or worry they may have to overcome.

How Can You Avoid TMJ?

Patients are often advised to take specific measures that will help them prevent the disorder from occurring in the future.

Sleep on your back or side with your head in an elevated position. Sleeping positions should be upright, especially for patients who already have neck pain. This elevation also helps to avoid neck strain while sleeping on your side.

Use a soft or thin pillow that will not cause unnecessary pressure in your mouth when you sleep. For side-sleepers, a thin pillow is recommended for the best support.

Avoid clenching your teeth together by practicing relaxation techniques, developing good jaw posture when standing and sitting, chewing gum to stimulate saliva production, and exercising your jaw muscles.

Use a moist heat pad on the neck, face, and jaw area to help with relaxation and reduce pain.

If you are a smoker, quit smoking. Smoking is not only unsuitable for your health in general but also can increase your risk of developing TMJ disorder.

If you are suffering from TMJ, there is hope for relief. This condition can be caused by trauma, arthritis, habits like grinding teeth at night, or infection within the jaw joint, usually secondary. Seeking guidance from a specialist is essential for the necessary diagnosis and treatment.