The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is one of the most important joints in the human body. Almost all oral functions involve the TMJ as it is directly responsible for the movement of the lower jaw. But, when the TMJ suffers damage due to extreme trauma or physical strain, it results in a condition called Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD).
What causes TMD?
- In most cases, TMD is caused due to excessive stress applied on the TMJ. When you frequently snack, chew gum, grind your teeth with or without your knowledge, the TMJ will be put under pressure. When this happens quite persistently, it ends up damaging the tissues of the TMJ.
- Bruxism is also a prominent cause of TMD. It is the subconscious grinding of the teeth, especially during sleep. It leads to issues such as worn-out tooth surfaces, inflamed TMJ, pain in the jaws, etc.
- External injury to the TMJ can also cause TMD.
- Improper posture while sleeping can apply unwanted stress on the TMJ. Over time, it can lead to TMD.
What are the symptoms?
- Extreme pain in the TMJ especially while chewing food. Even while talking, the pain would be lingering around.
- Lockjaw when you open your mouth too wide.
- Swelling and inflammation of the TMJ, which makes the face look bloated.
- Difficulty with chewing food, talking, or even the slightest movement of the jaws.
- Limited movement of the lower jaw.
How can TMD be treated?
The treatment of TMD can be done by taking two approaches; professional treatment by a dentist and taking certain remedial methods by yourself at home.
Since the main cause of TMD is the stress applied on the TMJ, a simple and effective means of getting rid of this stress is by massaging the joints. In addition to this, avoid putting excessive stress on the TMJ by persistent chewing of eatables. Meaning, avoid frequent snacking and chewing gum. Also, you should be aware of clenching your jaws with or without your own knowledge. This can be especially harmful to your TMJ as well as the teeth.
When it comes to professional treatment of TMD, we would suggest a customized mouthguard for you. This would prevent the contact between the teeth from the upper and lower jaws, which eliminates the chance for wear of teeth and also reduces the stress applied on the TMJ. If this method of treatment isn’t providing the required relief from TMD, jaw surgery would be the last resort option to treat the condition.
Call us or schedule an online appointment with Dentist in San Diego CA, and we’ll be able to guide you further. Visit our office, Aesthetic Dentistry, at 11515 El Camino Real #160, San Diego, CA 92130.