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Diagnosing and Treating TMJ Disorders Is a Mystery Medical Professionals Are Trying to Resolve

Diagnosing and Treating TMJ Disorders Is a Mystery Medical Professionals Are Trying to Resolve

Jan 01, 2021

Are you affected by pain in the face and neck along with stiffness in the muscles of your jaw? Do you experience clicking and popping sounds from where your temporomandibular joint exists? Are you observing a change in the way your upper and lower jaw meet? If so, you may be affected by a TMJ disorder. The reasons for the disease remain a mystery because various health conditions can contribute to the development.

When you experience all the above and are informed about the TMJ issue, you will attempt to search for TMJ treatment near you from your medical practitioner or dentist. Still, you must prepare yourself to overcome a mystery that is challenging to diagnose.

Before we proceed, let us explain the temporomandibular joint and some of the causes of the TMJ disorder.

Explaining the Temporomandibular Joint

The temporomandibular joint enables the connection of your lower mandible to your skull. The joint is located on both sides of your head, just in front of the ears. The joint allows the opening and closing of your jaw, enabling you to eat and speak.

TMJ disorders affect approximately 10 million Americans, and the issue is more common among women than men. The infection is entirely treatable and, in many cases, disappears by itself. Unfortunately, many different causes contribute to TMJ disorders making it challenging to diagnose the condition by a medical professional.

Causes of TMJ disorders

As mentioned earlier, the precise reasons for TMJ disorders remain a mystery. Dentists think trauma to the jaw joints may have a role to play, but other health conditions may also contribute to the problem. Some issues identified as contributors are arthritis, joint erosion, bruxism, and genetic jaw problems since birth.

Other factors often associated with TMJ disorders but without significant evidence are the use of orthodontic braces, lack of sleep, poor posture straining the muscles of the neck and face, poor diet, and prolonged stress.

Diagnosing TMJ disorders

Mysteries are often challenging to unravel, and similarly, TMJ disorders are challenging to diagnose. No standard tests are available to diagnose this condition. Your dentist or doctor may refer you to an ENT specialist for diagnosis.

The doctor examines your jaws to identify any tenderness or swelling to determine whether you display the symptoms of TMJ disorders. Medical professionals use several imaging tests during the diagnosis. These include x-rays of your jaw, CT scans of the jaw to view the bones and soft tissues, and MRI scans to determine whether any problems exist with the structure of your jaw.

Treating TMJ Disorders

Self-care practices at home help treat TMJ disorders in most cases. TMJ surgery is recommended as a last resort if required. You can ease the symptoms of TMJ disorders by eating soft foods, using ice packs on your cheeks to reduce swelling, avoiding chewing gum and having chewy foods, and using jaw stretching exercises to improve jaw movement.

If the above doesn’t help you, assistance from your dentist is available, who may prescribe the following depending on your symptoms.

  • Medicines to help you relax your jaw muscles and to reduce the swelling in your jaw.
  • TMJ treatment Botox to reduce tension in the muscles and nerves of your jaw.
  • Bite guards to prevent teeth grinding and stabilization splints.
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy to reduce stress.

Is TMJ Disorder Preventable

The dental Co. of Leesburg, VA, mentions preventing TMJ disorders from developing is practically impossible, but you can undoubtedly reduce your symptoms by lowering your stress levels. If you are concerned with TMJ disorders, you can seek TMJ treatment in Leesburg, VA, from Dr. Josef Wollmann, who may recommend wearing mouthguards to prevent teeth grinding and clenching. Muscle relaxants are also prescribed to help relax your mouth at night. You can help avoid issues of TMJ by reducing your overall stress and anxiety using counseling, meditation, and diet.

TMJ disorders are quickly treatable in many people with home remedies by changing posture or reducing stress. Many cases require lifestyle changes combined with medications to ease the pain and discomfort. TMJ disorders don’t need aggressive treatments. If you are affected by this issue, it will help if you discuss your problem with your dentist to determine which treatment is best for your needs.

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