Dentists, chiropractors, and doctors can all help with your TMJ
If you have any severe pain in your TMJ or temporomandibular joint, you may be experiencing the symptoms of TMD (temporomandibular disorder). The TMJ is the hinge like joint that enables you to move your mouth up and down or sideways while performing key facial functions including smiling, chewing, yawning and eating. There are various professionals available who are qualified and experienced in diagnosing and treating the symptoms of TMD.
Once you start experiencing pain your first visit should be to your dentist, who will conduct an examination of your jaw. This may include x rays to determine the cause of your discomfort.
Treatment often starts with transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS). This technique is the use of a low-level electrical current that provides pain relief through the relaxing of the facial muscles and jaw joint so stopping the friction caused by a misaligned jaw.
Once the jaw has relaxed the dentist can determine its correct position and custom design a mouthpiece or orthotic device which is made of plastic and is held in the mouth so that the jaw stays in the correct position which may help to stop the friction causing the TMJ pain.
Chiropractors can also be effective in alleviating the pain linked to the TMJ. This may either be the only treatment or alongside treatment from other medical professionals.
Chiropractors focus on adjusting the joints, relaxing the muscles and using precise trigger points to re-position the jaw to its most comfortable position. When successfully completed, this treatment will help to relieve pain in the short term and it may help to prevent TMJ pain recurring. The medial pterygoid muscle, found on the jaw behind the molars, is the trigger point that causes pain in the TMJ, the ear, lower jaw and neck and a chiropractor can gently massage this key area.
Sometimes health-care providers work together
Different health care professionals will share information about the person’s TMJ problem so that any treatment program doesn’t overlap and ensures all possible treatment is offered to the patient.
Who can help you best?
One of the more successful options for treating TMD is a dental solution. The dentist will at first thoroughly examine the jaw for misalignment. If this is found to be the case a non invasive plastic mouthpiece is custom fitted to help move the jaw back into its correct position.
Before any decision is made about treatment options, the dentist will ensure that nothing else is causing the pain by studying medical records and assessing the pain that is being felt by the sufferer.
There may also be other dental solutions that can be applied, such as dental implants, braces and fixing overcrowding – all of which affect teeth and jaw alignment.
Find a TMJ Dentist in your area
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