TMJ treatment is a critical sector in dentistry that focuses on the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). This is the connecting joint of the upper and lower jaw. It is located right in front of the ears on both sides. The joint allows for the proper functioning of the mouth. This means that chewing, talking, yawning, and other mouth activities are made possible by this joint. The movement of the upper and lower jaw would not be possible if the joint were not properly functioning.
In that case, TMJ treatment focuses largely on the oral disorder that disrupts the functioning of the jawbone related to TMJ. The disorder causes pain in the TMJ, affecting the normal operation of the mouth. The condition is also known as temporomandibular disorder (TMD).
What Causes TMJ Disorder?
The TMJ should be functioning at its best at all times. The joint is not externally exposed to be vulnerable to constant risks. However, it does not eliminate any risks from happening. For you to require TMJ treatment in Houston, you might have gone through some of the following issues:
Injury – most athletes suffer from TMJ disorders. Some of the sports that increase the risk of this disorder include soccer, football, rugby, boxing, wrestling, to mention a few.
Bruxism – teeth grinding is common among kids. Patients who constantly grind their teeth put a lot of pressure and tension on the TMJ. Teeth grinding, however, is a common habit for the night. It causes other oral issues, including increased teeth sensitivity, changes in the height of the teeth, facial muscle spasm, to mention a few. When this happens, the TMJ suffers the consequences.
Bad eating habits – some people do not take good care of their teeth. If you are in the habit of chewing on hard items, then you stand the risk of TMJ disorder. Such practices include biting fingernails, chewing pens, gum, and opening cans, among others. The risk is not just on the joint, but also on breaking your teeth.
Stress – can cause one to clench their teeth, straining the facial muscles along with the TMJ.
Genetics – genes related to pain intolerance, stress response, inflammation, and psychological health may result in TMJ disorder risks.
What Are TMJ Disorder Symptoms and Signs?
TMJ disorder treatment is required whenever patients experience some of the following symptoms:
- Sounds in the joint – when you move your upper and lower jaw, the only sounds you should be hearing are of teeth clenching together. Otherwise, the sounds from the joint can only be explained by a dentist in south Houston as a TMJ disorder. Any clicking, popping, or grating sounds indicates an anomaly in the joint area.
- Difficulty chewing – especially hard foods
- Sharp pain when yawning or talking – the facial muscles are under a lot of pressure and tension, which can cause severe pain. This pain is often felt on the joint itself. However, it can spread to other areas of the face, including the cheeks or the ears.
- Inflamed joint – accompanied by pain in the area right in front of the ears on either side.
- Migraine headaches – as a result of the pain in the TMJ. the pain can move from the joint to the scalp to cause the migraine
- Ear pain – TMJ dysfunction can be as severe as to cause hearing loss. It causes ringing in the ears, otherwise known as tinnitus. An ear infection can sometimes have nothing to do with the ears, but be caused by TMJ disorder.
- Jaw lock – happens when the upper and lower jaw is stuck in one open position for a while. This happens in very severe cases of TMJ disorders. For some patients, the opening of the jaw fully may not even be possible. Some can also have the lower jaw deviating to one side, different from the upper jaw. If this is happening to you, visit a dental clinic in Houston, TX, immediately.
Solutions to TMJ Disorder Symptoms
TMJ disorder varies in severity. For acute TMJ disorder, the symptoms should disappear as soon as the cause of pain, say injury, is resolved. The symptoms last only a few days to a couple of weeks. However, patients with a chronic TMJ condition can have symptoms for as long as several months to years. In this case, more drastic measures are taken. Some solutions include changes in eating habits, treating the injury, reducing stress, among others. In severe cases, surgery may be involved to rectify the anomalies in the joint.