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TMJ 101


We all have TMJ

header-images-tmj-101Everyone has a temporomandibular joint (TMJ). If we didn’t, we would not be able to bite, chew, talk or yawn as these functions are only possible due to the presence of your TMJ. It is the joint that lies on both sides of your mouth which acts like a hinge allowing these important actions to take place.

When this joint becomes damaged or misaligned it can cause a lot of pain and varied symptoms. If you have been experiencing neck, head, shoulder or eye pain, persistent headaches, vision or hearing loss then you may have a problem with your all important joint.

Fortunately, there are modern techniques which can help to address this problem.

TMJ dysfunction: what is it?

TMJ dysfunction is a term often used to describe your TMJ when it is not behaving as it should. This is normally due to misalignment of the jaw when either the nerve or muscles that exist in and around it are experiencing undue pressure, resulting in pain. This condition afflicts around 35 million Americans every year.

Injuries to the neck and head area which could take place in a car accident, while playing sports or even slipping and falling on a pavement are common reasons for TMJ dysfunction.

Your bite can be affected if the jaw becomes misaligned and sometimes these changes may be almost immediate if you have suffered a blow to your jaw. The teeth are supposed to close neatly together when biting takes place but if the TMJ has lost its ability to keep the teeth in the right place then the victim tries to move their jaw to affect alignment. This is when damage to the TMJ starts to become noticeable.

There are other reasons for the development of a disorder in the TMJ and they include alteration to the teeth made by an orthodontist or teeth that are crooked, cracked, missing or damaged. Once teeth get into poor condition their biting action is lost and the victim tries to compensate by adjusting jaw movement to improve the bite. This causes overworking and friction in the moving parts of the TMJ and pain develops.

What can a neuromuscular dentist do for you?

page-image-tmj-101When most people start to experience any of the symptoms of a TMJ disorder, they visit their physician for a diagnosis. However, if a physician is unable to discover anything wrong with the TMJ and no other medical condition is revealed then the symptoms are often put down to stress and are as a consequence treated with anti depressants. The victim never really finds out what is causing the uncomfortable chronic pain. A neuromuscular dentist is the answer to your TMJ pain.

A dentist experienced in neuromuscular disorders will be able to assess your ongoing pain through a variety of techniques.

Firstly he or she will check your overall health status and that will include examining your TMJ. Once it has been established that the TMJ is misaligned a technique which involves the use of an electronic stimulator will be used to relax the muscles related to the TMJ. Once the muscles are relaxed, it will be possible to determine the correct position for the TMJ.

The dentist can custom make a non invasive orthotic device which gently positions the TMJ into the most comfortable position, particularly in relationship to the bite.

Regaining a healthy lifestyle

There is no need to suffer a TMJ problem with all its associated symptoms in silence. A TMJ disorder can be alleviated by a dentist with neuromuscular experience. All it takes is to make sure you have a thorough diagnosis by the dentist who will then discuss with you the most appropriate treatment options for the degree of severity of your condition.

Proper treatment can help you to regain a normal healthy lifestyle.

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