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Let it Be: The Best Treatment for TMJ

Anita Wade, · Categories: Uncategorized

As creators of art, we often use our heads to come up with our works. If our head is hurting, we can’t really focus on the task at hand. Almost 75 percent of Americans have signs of TMJ problems that come and go on its own. People from Boston are saying that only 5 to 10 percent of people that experience TMJ symptoms need to be treated.

The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is responsible for joining the upper and lower jaw. Disorders in this part of the jaw will lead to head pain problems and can hinder a person from chewing because it affects the muscles needed to do the action. However, there are times when patients do not have their problem looked at the right way before they undergo expensive therapies that can’t even relieve their symptoms of TMJ disorder.

A New Understanding

The TMJ is responsible for the hinge and sliding motion of the mouth. When our mouths open, the rounded ends (condyles) of your lower jaw will glide through the sockets of your temporal bones. The muscles are connected to the temporal bones and the jaw with a soft disc placed in between to absorb the shocks from all jaw movements.

TMJ disorders were first thought to branch from upper and lower teeth misalignment (malocclusion) or improper jaw position. This is the reason why dentists focused on replacing teeth that are missing and applying braces to correct the person’s teeth alignment and change how the jaws meet.

Recent studies show that malocclusion is also part of TMJ symptoms. This means that braces or replacing teeth won’t really solve the TMJ disorder, it only is a product of the disorder along with many other symptoms and factors. The American Academy of Orofacial pain said that TMJ usually involves many symptoms and rarely branches from a single cause.

There are other causes that are recognized to twist the function of the TMJ like inborn abnormalities of the jaw, displacement of the disc in the jaw bones, inflammation that cause the joints to deteriorate; injuries that causes trauma to the join, tumors, infection, bruxism, and excessive tightness of the joint that may all cause it to be painful.

The most common problem caused by TMJ is called myofacial pain disorder. This is a problem of the muscles that we use to chew accompanied by a dull pain around the ear that may spread through the side and back of the head or down the neck area. Someone with this kind of disorder can have jaw muscles that are tender when you can hear clicking or popping noises from the jaw. A person with this kind of symptom will also have a hard time moving the mouth, chewing, talking or yawning.

There are other habits that may irritate the jaw and make the TMJ problem worse like clenching the teeth and jaw, tooth grinding while sleeping, biting lips and fingernails, chewing gum and other hard materials. There are also psychological factors that may be a cause of these habits like anxiety, stress and depression.