The Facts Behind TMJ Disorder

Types of braces

At any given time, anywhere between five and twelve percent of the population is affected by temporomandibular joint disorder (or TMJ disorder). This is an inflammation of the one or both of the joints connecting the jawbone to the skull. It is characterized by “popping” or “clicking” sounds when opening and closing the mouth, and may or may not be painful.

The exact causes of TMJ disorder are not clearly known. The condition is often accompanied by bruxism (grinding the teeth while sleeping), but scientists are unsure which is the cause and which is the symptom. Many people incorrectly associate TMJ disorder with ear pain, since the TMJ itself is located directly in front of the ear. As a result, many sufferers mistakenly see an audiologist before a neuromuscular specialist.

Typical treatment for TMJ disorder is simple
, consisting mainly of exercises and relaxation techniques, as well as anti-inflammatory drugs for severe pain. Standard TMJ exercises may consist of gentle isometric stretching of the TMJ across all axes (up/down, side/side, and forward/back), usually using nothing more elaborate than a finger on one hand.

Surgical intervention is exceedingly rare, and recommended only in a small percentage of the most extreme cases. In these cases, TMJ surgery can consist of simple irrigation of the joint (arthrocentesis) to remove any irritants or fluid build-up, or increasingly complex measures all the way up to joint replacement.

TMJ disorder can be a frustrating and embarrassing condition, but is far more inconvenient than dangerous. The overwhelming majority of TMJ disorder cases resolve themselves over time, with symptoms gradually decreasing and disappearing altogether. However, if your condition persists, your doctor can recommend treatment options. For more, read this link:

Tom Pultney

Tom Pultney

If you’re anything like the average person out there, the words “root canal” are enough to make you cringe, and just thinking about the sound of a dentist drill sends a shiver down your spine. Did you know that the best dental hygiene can keep the drill out of your mouth? I’m Tom Pultney, hygienist and president of the Dental Hygiene Association. Like anyone in the medical profession, I wish as much as anyone else we didn’t have to do what we do, and everyone’s teeth were perfect, straight and bright. But the reality is, that won’t happen without keeping up on your dental hygiene, and whether you need a dentist for your annual cleaning, or for some dental work, we’ve got info on the best dentists around the US.

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