Temporomandibular Joint Disorder, aka TMJ or TMJD is a painful condition that can drastically impact the quality of life for dental patients. Many times people are unaware that the condition is related to their oral health, but experience chronic headaches or migraines which cause them to seek out care from a medical doctor. Believe it or not, dentists can provide effective TMJ treatment and help patients manage their TMJ disorder symptoms.
The pain of TMJ comes from the TMJ and muscles around the joint from overuse or incorrect joint function. Damages to the disk, bone, or excessive muscle strain can make pain radiate through the head, neck, and shoulders. Oral manifestations of the disorder include excessively worn teeth, crowding, and damaged dental restorations.
Dentists manage TMJD by using different things like splints, Botox, or muscle relaxers. Splints are the most commonly used treatment, as they train the jaw to rest in the correct position during the day. During times of stress such as driving, or when you sleep are the most common times that people clench the jaws tightly together, irritating their TMJ condition. Wearing the splint prevents this from happening, as the teeth are held slightly apart and the jaw muscles cannot fully contract. Damage to the teeth is irreversible, and can cause other oral complications if the cause isn’t stopped.
Splints are small, comfortable to wear, and a fairly affordable treatment method. Don’t let TMJ disorder ruin your life and make you feel miserable every day. Ask your dentist about having a custom splint made as soon as possible. All that’s needed is an impression of your teeth. In just a few days, your customized splint will have you on your way to a pain-free day.
Posted on behalf of Dr. Paul Eberhard, Mockingbird Dental Associates
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