Understanding the Causes and Treatments of TMJ
People don’t always end up needing dental care because of a tooth or gum infection. Other crucial parts of the oral cavity can be problematic and significantly detail the productivity and functionality of your mouth. One such problem is TMJ, which calls for TMJ therapy in Calgary to resolve it before it progresses and worsens your oral health.
What Is TMJ?
It is an acronym for Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ). When the TMJ becomes problematic the disorder is called Temporomandibular Disorder (TMD), featuring a dysfunction of TMJ, the joint that connects the jawbone to the skull. This region of the oral cavity may not always be considered as a part of your mouth, but it plays a big role in how effectively your mouth can function. Ideally, when you have TMD, many functions of the mouth like chewing, laughing, speaking, or yawning will be problematic. Some other factors that you will encounter when you have TMD unless you seek TMJ treatment near you are:
- Recurrent migraine headaches.
- Severe jaw pain and sometimes gum pain
- Swollen cheeks.
- Ear pain – usually followed by tingling or cracking feelings in your ears.
- Pain in other areas of your upper body like shoulders and neck area.
- Jaw lock – is one of the sure signs that you have TMD. It occurs when your mouth gets stuck in the open-mouth position. While you may be able to shut your mouth eventually, it will be difficult and rather painful.
What Causes TMJ Condition?
Different patients who seek treatment from dentists in Calgary, SW, for TMD have varying underlying causes. The common ones associated with the disorder are:
- Dental trauma or injury – is the common cause of TMD. In fact, many patients who get TMD after a dental injury are likely to have a severe case, depending on how traumatic the accident was. As such, when a dentist near you treats your TMD, drastic treatment protocols must be employed.
- Bruxism – is a condition that describes excessive teeth grinding. It is common among children and teenagers, as a habit they pick up when they are younger. Many patients who grind their teeth do so when they are sleeping at night. If the extent of teeth grinding is great, it is possible to get TMD. The gnashing of teeth against each other continuously places unnecessary pressure on the facial and jaw muscles, which is how you are likely to have TMD.
Aside from those major factors, other risk factors that can cause TMD are:
Poor posture – especially when you are sleeping.
Stress and anxiety – you are likely to clench your face more often than not when you are stressed or feeling anxious.
What Does TMD Treatment Entail?
Only a dentist near you can concisely establish what kind of treatment befits your dental needs. When it comes to TMD therapy, a lot of it depends on the underlying cause of your problem. Aside from that, the kind of symptoms you have will influence the treatment options you need. In some cases, you may not even require treatment, as your symptoms will go away on their own. However, it is usually the case for patients with very mild TMD, often as a result of the stress of poor posture. For other causes, treatment entails the following protocols:
- Night guard – is an oral appliance worn at night to keep the lower and upper jaw slightly apart as a treatment for TMJ. Patients who need this kind of oral mouthpiece often suffer from severe teeth grinding when they sleep. The mouth protector must be customized to properly fit your mouth and prevent other dental issues like difficulties breathing when you sleep.
- Physiotherapy – Dental experts have come up with certain dental exercises that are great for healing problematic TMJ, especially where the underlying cause is a dental injury. The therapies will help strengthen your jaw and facial muscles.
- Surgery – it is hardly the case that you would need surgery to treat TMJ, but sometimes it is necessary. Surgical measures are employed where the damage on your TMD causes a displacement of the discs thereof.