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What Does It Mean If I Have TMJ?

Posted on: March 22, 2018

TMJThose who are suffering from face pain might be saddled with TMJ.  TMJ involves the temporomandibular joints located on the sides of the head.  Such joints work with the muscles, discs, bones and ligaments during the chewing, speaking and yawning processes.

Below, we provide an in-depth look at what TMJ really means and how you should proceed if diagnosed with it.

Why TMJ Develops

Issues with the jaw’s TM joints are commonly caused by a grinding or clenching of the teeth resulting from stress.  Stress will cause you to tighten up your facial muscles and possibly even your jaw, leading to some serious problems down the road.  It is possible to dislocate the disc between the socket and ball. The TM joints can also become arthritic as time progresses. Even an injury to the jaw, neck or head can spur TJ.

The dentist will analyze your TMJ joints for pain.  He or she will determine if there is a limited range of motion or if the jaw locks.  The dentist will examine your bite as well. Dentists go as far as listening closely for subtle clicking/popping noises when the mouth moves.  It might also be necessary for panoramic x-rays to be taken. If the TMJ is extreme, the dentist might refer you to an oral surgeon for treatment.

Signs of TMJ

If you experience pain when chewing, talking or opening your mouth, facial pain or neck/shoulder pain, you might have TMJ.  You might not be able to fully open your mouth with ease. Perhaps your jaw locks. Swelling on the sides of the face, headaches, toothaches, earaches, neck aches, hearing loss and dizziness are also signs you might have TMJ.

How to Proceed After Being Diagnosed With TMJ

Once the dentist breaks the news about your TMJ, you will be tempted to wallow in a bit of self-pity.  Keep your head up! Your dentist and/or oral surgeon will help reduce your pain and keep your jaw in as functional and healthy as possible.  The dentist/oral surgeon might advise the use of a night guard or splint, a TENS unit for nerve stimulation, trigger point injections or corrective treatment of the teeth.  In some cases, surgery is an option yet it is irreversible. Therefore, surgery is the last resort for TMJ treatment.

Do not be Intimidated by TMJ

Your TMJ will eventually cause some discomfort in your face and/or jaw.  However, TMJ does not mean you have to suffer a reduced quality of life. You can limit this discomfort by speaking with your dentist about low-grade medications like ibuprofen.  It will help to eat soft foods as opposed to those that are hard and/or sticky.

Above all, you should come to terms with the fact that you have TMJ and understand it will require some treatment.  If you proceed without treating your TMJ, you will likely end up with a number of oral health problems like tooth grinding, sleep loss, consistent headaches or worse.  You can avoid these results by regularly meeting with your dentist and following his or her advice to mitigate TMJ discomfort.

Heres’ the deal with treating TMJ:

Request a TMJ appointment in our Dearborn dentist office here: http://www.completedentalhealthmi.com.

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