Have you ever had a TMJ problem, or have you heard someone else complaining about TMJ?
Either way, you know it can be unpleasant and even disruptive to your daily life. It doesn’t have to be that way, however.
At 1st In Smiles, our dentist and staff want to alleviate the pains and other problems that can arise from your TMJ issues. We can help you just as we have helped many other patients in and around Plano, TX.
That is why we are presenting 10 facts you may want to know about TMJ disorders.
◆ 1. TMJ is a body part.
When many people talk about TMJ, they really mean a TMJ disorder. TMJ is an abbreviation for temporomandibular joint. You actually have two of them, one on each side of your mouth.
These are ball-and-socket joints that allow you to open and close your mouth.
◆ 2. Many people will have TMJ problems at some point in their lives.
According to the TMJ Association, around 12 percent of people will experience a TMJ disorder at some point in their lives. That’s close to 1 in every 8 people.
Many other people will experience TMJ problems that may not rise to the level of a TMJ disorder.
◆ 3. Serious problems are TMJ disorders or TMD.
Chronic problems can arise from TMJ issues that go undiagnosed and untreated. Be aware of changes in the function of your jaw and various pains you may be experiencing on a recurring basis.
◆ 4. TMDs can cause pains beyond your jaw.
Sore and tender jaws are a common symptom of TMJ problems. However, the pains of TMD can affect the muscles of the face and interconnected muscle tissue. Neck, shoulder, and upper back pains are complaints of TMD sufferers as well.
◆ 5. Frequent headaches and earaches could be symptoms of a TMD.
If you have headaches (including migraines) and earaches frequently, this could originate in your TMJ problems, too. Pay particular attention to when you have your headaches and earaches, such as in the morning or after stressful events.
◆ 6. TMDs can affect jaw mobility.
Not all TMJ problems are painful, at least not physically. A person with a TMD may only be able to open or close his or her mouth partially. In some cases, you may even experience temporary instances when your jaw is immobile.
This can be embarrassing even at times when it may not be painful.
◆ 7. Bruxism is a common cause of TMJ problems.
Several factors can contribute to TMDs, but bruxism is a common one that dentists can help treat. Bruxism is a technical term for clenching or grinding your teeth.
Millions of people do this without realizing it is happening. You may do this when you are awake as a subconscious way to deal with stress, or you may do this in your sleep (which could explain why symptoms are worse in the morning).
◆ 8. The TMJ Association recommends self-treatment first.
We want to help, and we will be happy to. But before you call us, you may want to try helping yourself first. The TMJ Association recommends a few things that you can try:
➤ Take over-the-counter pain relievers to alleviate temporary pains.
➤ Use cold or ice packs to numb pain and reduce swelling.
➤ Use moist heat to relieve pain and improve jaw mobility.
➤ Try eating softer foods and avoiding exaggerated jaw movements.
➤ Find ways to manage stress. (This may reduce your bruxism.)
◆ 9. Our dentist can help with your TMD.
If self-treatment doesn’t help at all or if your treatment only provides temporary relief, then you may have a more chronic issue. That’s when you should call us.
We will examine your bite to see if an alignment issue may be contributing to your problem. We will also check for signs of bruxism.
In many instances, we can create a custom mouthguard for you to wear. This will adjust the resting position of your jaw, and it will prevent you from grinding your teeth together. Many times, this kind of therapy provides the long-term relief that our patients are seeking.
◆ 10. Please make an appointment if you are experiencing any symptoms of a TMJ disorder.
We hate to see anyone in pain, especially in and around Plano. The staff at our dentist office wants nothing more than to eliminate the pain that may be interfering with your work and your time with your family and friends.