TMJ/TMD – Possible Causes and Treatments
TMJ or temporomandibular joint is a joint that connects your jaws to your temporal bones of the skull. When you have problems with your facial muscles and jaws, they are collectively known as TMD or temporomandibular disorder.
The disorder may mean that there is a problem going on in the system of ligaments, bones, and discs ligaments of TMJ. This type of disorder causes you to feel and hear popping sound when you move your jaw. Unfortunately, it is not always easy to determine the exact cause of this condition.
It can be difficult to know whether or not you have disorders in your TMJ. The reason for this is that some symptoms present may also occur to other problems. The best thing that your dentist can do is to conduct a thorough clinical examination of your mouth. He/she may take x-rays and a comprehensive medical and dental history.
But there are common symptoms of TMJ/TMD. These will include headaches and earaches. You may also feel pain and pressure behind your eyes.
When you open or close your mouth you will hear a clicking or popping sound. This is the most common symptom that a person with this condition will experience.
Other symptoms will include tenderness of your jaw muscles and a change in how your teeth will fit.
TMJ/TMD is pretty common. But, up to now, there is no single cure discovered yet for this condition. Good thing is that there are treatments that you may apply to reduce its symptoms significantly.
Medication is one of the treatments for TMJ/TMD. This is ideal if you are experiencing muscle spasms and pain. The medicines you may take may include aspirin, OTC pain relievers, anti-inflammatory drugs and muscle relaxants. Apply moist heat to your jaw may also help.
Another treatment that may be useful is to wear an occlusal appliance or a splint. It must be custom-made so it will fit perfectly fit to your mouth. It slips over your upper teeth. In this way, it prevents your upper teeth from grinding against your lower teeth.
You may also benefit from learning techniques to help you feel relaxed. Yoga may be of great use here. These techniques can assist you in controlling the tension in your jaw muscles. Depending on your condition, your dentist may suggest talking to a counselor to help you eliminate stress.
Jaw Joints Affected
On the other hand, if your condition affects the joints of your jaws, you may need to undergo a jaw joint surgery. This is especially recommended if you have tried other treatments but they failed to give you significant relief.
For those who are suffering from TMJ pain, they may benefit from surgery. This is especially true if non-surgical options have been unsuccessful.
To appease the pain in your TMJ, you may want to consider going the softer route. That is, to follow a soft diet. This will help in preventing your jaw muscles from being used more frequently. It reduces tension in the affected area.
When you talk of soft diet, you may think about yogurt or shakes. But there are other options for a soft diet. You can have oatmeal and paired it with eggs for breakfast. Chicken salad, macaroni and cheese are also great options.
If you like munching on carrots or potatoes, you can mash them or chopped them finely so you will not chew them heavily.
Stay away from harder meats. Chips and crunchy snacks should also be avoided if you want to reduce tension in your jaw muscles.
Giving your jaw a break may also help. When you brush your teeth, make sure that you do not open your mouth so wide that your jaw works harder that it has to.
When you need to yawn, you need to place your fist just below your jaw to prevent it from locking.
Practice yoga to help you relax your entire body.
Each time you open your mouth, you should slightly place your tongue behind your top teeth to prevent jaw from tensing up.
For a more in-depth treatment of your TMJ/TMD, you should consult your dentist. He/she may teach you some exercises or relaxation technique that can further assist in your condition.