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Stress from TMJ Pain

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Having a painfully stressful day?

stress-tmj-painStress can be encountered often enough every day, related to work and family issues, as well as such all too common activities as driving on a busy highway or queuing up for long periods of time at a grocery store.

It makes it worse when stress is caused by a pain which has to be endured. This is often a time when positive emotions are at their lowest ebb. It is sometimes hard to identify what is causing you this sort of stressful pain, especially when it is caused by a problem with your jaw.

When the pain is caused by a problem with your jaw

Pain experienced in the jaw may be due to a problem with the jaw joints. These joints, the temporomandibular joints (TMJs) allow the jaw to move up and down and permit biting, chewing and talking. Some activities put more than usual pressure on the TMJ.

In some circumstances where the teeth become overly worn, cracked, crooked and even broken by incessant grinding, the bite may be affected. The damage done to the joint may be the source of the pain that is such a stressful experience.

How a dentist can help to deal with TMJ related stressful pain

In some situations, relaxation techniques can correct the effects of pain but once the damage becomes more evident, professional intervention may be required. As with any unusual pain a physician should be consulted first to assure the patient that the pain is not as a result of an illness.

Once this has been confirmed a visit to the dentist is on the agenda. If the TMJ is misaligned and the cause is not treated in a timely fashion further pains could be the outcome as the TMJ tries to find its correct position. The dentist will conduct an evaluation of the jaw movement and position and may x-ray muscles and ligaments to determine their state.

A dentist may suggest modifying the diet such as eliminating chewing gum altogether and taking a break from consuming hard foods. Physical therapy could follow, including head, jaw or neck exercises. The main aim of these preliminary solutions is to neutralize the negative action of the nervous system which is producing stressful discomfort.

There are a variety of more permanent techniques that may be taken by your dentist, including the use of an orthotic device to hold the TMJ in the correct alignment. Orthodontic procedures may be used to fill gaps and realign teeth or permanently rebuild damaged or missing teeth through the use of bridges, crowns and implants.

From stressful to stress less

tmj-stress-reliefThere are enough potential stressful events in modern life without having to add to the burden with the pain from a TMJ problem. By taking the step of consulting a dentist who has experience in neuromuscular dentistry there may be a way forward to have a stress less future.

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