Understanding TMJ

Temporomandibular Joint Disorder, also known as TMJ or TMD, is an inflammatory disorder that affects your jaw and can cause pain that radiates throughout your jaw and head. The temporomandibular joint connects your jaw to the bones in your skull, acting as a hinge that allows you to eat, speak, and yawn. TMJ can cause head and neck aches, toothaches, and earaches. If you’re suffering from these symptoms and looking for a dentist in Alpharetta, read on for more information. Understanding TMJ will allow you to have an informed conversation with a dentist near you.

Understanding TMJ & TMD | Alpharetta, GA

Causes of TMJ
While dentists don’t know the exact cause of TMJ, they believe it may be caused by inflammation of the joint or jaw muscles. This inflammation may be caused by trauma or excessive stress. If you grind your teeth or clench your jaw while sleeping, or if you have suffered from whiplash or other trauma to the head, this may be causing your TMJ symptoms. The temporomandibular joint is also subject to arthritis, which can cause stiffness, inflammation, and pain.

Symptoms of TMJ
The intense pain and discomfort of TMJ can come and go. It may be temporary, or it may recur for years. This pain affects not only the jaw, but also the neck, shoulders, and ears. It may intensify when you move your jaw to speak, chew, or yawn, and you may notice a popping or clicking sound associated with these jaw movements. This can cause your jaw and facial muscles to feel fatigued and tender. It can also lead to facial swelling and difficulty chewing or speaking.

Treatment Options
There are many home remedies that can help alleviate the pain associated with TMJ and offer you some temporary comfort. Anti-inflammatory pain relievers like ibuprofen, combined with heat packs or ice packs, can relieve your pain and inflammation. You should also try to eat softer foods, avoid excessive jaw movement, and avoid clenching your jaw or grinding your teeth. Your dentist or orthodontist may recommend prescription medications or a night guard. Dental work, including surgery, is only suggested in extreme cases.

Categories: Dentist, TMD, TMJ
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