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February 25 2011

How can I treat TMJ?

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Temporomandibular jaw disorders, often referred to as TMJ, result in significant jaw pain and can also lead to headaches and neck pain. TMJ also is frequently characterized by clicking or popping noises in the jaw. The condition can affect a patient’s ability to speak, chew and swallow, and in severe cases, even the ability to breathe. There are enough people who suffer from this condition that they have formed a TMJ Association, and report as many as 35 million US members.

The jaw is a complex structure that is comprised of a number of ligaments and muscles, along with bones and the two termporomandibular joints, which are located in the lower jaw bone, or mandible. With so many working parts to it, if the jaw experiences any problems with just one of these components, it can bring about TMJ. 

TMJ can occur for a variety of reasons. Some sort of injury to the jaw may cause its onset, or TMJ may be the result of arthritis. Malocclusions, or misalignments of the bite, can be responsible for TMJ, as can stress and grinding of the teeth.

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The good news is those that suffer from this condition can get the relief they need. Depending on the severity of your condition, it typically involves little more than a few trips to a Denton, TX dentist‘s office. If you are experiencing pain in the jaw or other areas of the face, your dentist will take x-rays and conduct a physical examination of the jaw. The findings of these exams will give your dentist guidance on how to treat the condition.

Depending on the source of the TMJ, your DDS in Garland, TX may consider using one or more than one of the treatments listed below: 

  • Muscle relaxants, anti-inflammatory medications or over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen.
  • Dietary changes, such as introducing more soft foods that reduce the need for chewing
  • Relaxation techniques to reduce stress in the jaw muscles
  • A custom-made bite plate or splint to eliminate grinding of the teeth.
  • Orthodontic treatment to correct a malocclusion

If you think you may have this condition, and would like to learn more about it, reach out to your Fort Worth DDS. There is no need to suffer in silence for something with such a high rate of treatment success.