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Temporomandibular joint disorder affects millions of Americans across the US and hinders the functionality of the jaws. Referred to as either TMJ or TMD, the condition can make chewing or even speaking more difficult for those affected by it. At Chichetti & Patel Dental Wellness we are here to help those who are experiencing the symptoms of TMJ.
What Causes TMJ?
TMJ can happen in a number of different ways. Some people are born with the condition while others develop it at some point in their lives. TMJ can be the result of jaw injury, missing teeth, and bruxism.
What Is TMJ?
The condition refers to the temporomandibular joint that connects the skull to the jaw. This joint is how you are able to move your jaws up and down and if it has become misaligned it can lead to complications when movement occurs. It is a form of arthritis and it is similar to arthritis in the wrists and fingers.
Symptoms of TMJ
People with TMJ can experience a number of symptoms, including a popping sound when chewing and speaking, jaws that lock for a moment, pain that either comes and goes or lingers, and a misaligned bite.
Is It Something To Be Concerned About?
The condition can have differing levels of severity,so we recommend talking about it even if the only symptom you are experiencing is mild discomfort in the jaw. TMJ can potentially become worse over time depending on a variety of factors such as if you have a habit of grinding your teeth.
TMJ can turn into an emergency if it has progressed to the point the pain is severe, and you are physically unable to open and close your mouth. Overall, it is something you should not ignore, no matter the severity of it.
Can TMJ Be Treated?
TMJ is able to be treated. Temporary relief can involve painkillers for those experiencing pain. A mouthpiece can help with keeping your jaw straight at night, which is particularly helpful if you are subconsciously grinding your teeth, which not only can be painful for your jaws but it also damages teeth. If the condition is severe, then TMJ arthroscopy might be recommended - especially if you are experiencing some of the worst symptoms.
If you are currently showing no signs of TMJ there are things you can do to prevent yourself from getting it. Teeth grinding is a common reason why people develop the jaw disorder, the motion and pressure that is put on your jaws by doing this frequently slowly negatively affects the temporomandibular joint over time.
Finally, although it may seem silly at first, try to not chew food on only one side of the mouth. This puts a strain on the jaws and causes imbalance over time.
If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment with us to learn more about possible TMJ issues, we at Chichetti & Patel Dental Wellness are here to help you with this and all your oral health needs. You can call our office at 704-629-8081 to speak with us directly.