TMJ Specialist - Getting Help from the Professional

A dentist or a TMJ Specialist may be your answer in relieving TMJ. TMJ stands for Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction which is a misalignment of the Temporomandibular Joint(s) that causes pain, usually in front of the ear(s), sometimes in the form of a headache. It's also popularly termed as TMD.

There can be many causes of TMJ symptoms; from facial trauma to inflammation of the jaw or from degenerative arthritis, and sometimes from poor dental work that pushes the mandible bone towards the ears every time one try to chew or swallow.  Muscle spasm, can also cause head and neck pain, that roots from TMJ from which one will experience difficulty of opening one's mouth normally. 

Two Components To the Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction

  • Structural component

Loss of vertical dimension - This can be characterized as the distance from your chin to your nose or simply "chin-to-nose". The ideal dimension can be damaged by any of the following: 

  • collapse of the dental arch
  • excessive wear of the teeth
  • orthodontic extractions
  • arch size discrepancy (upper - lower dental arch) or a 
  • genetic predisposition.

Stress component

Unreleased nervous energy due to stress can be released consciously or unconsciously through grinding or clinching of teeth.  The feeling of Pain and helplessness which comes with TMJ symptoms can cause frustration which can lead to depression.

Treating TMJ dysfunction

While TMJ symptoms caused by stress can be reduced by TMJ exercises, a visit to a professional practitioners such as dentist or TMJ specialist makes a lot of difference. 

Dentists are able to verify the presence of TMJ problems and give you the right treatment to alleviate your condition.

He or she can also check your "bite" to see if it needs some corrections. Sometimes, it's as simple as correcting one or two teeth that are causing the misalignment.

Your dentist can also identify grinding by your teeth's wear patterns. Unconscious clenching of your jaw and unconscious grinding of your teeth both day and night may lead to TMJ problems. The unconscious clenching of your jaw and grinding of your teeth doesn't only damage your teeth but may seriously damage your TMJ. Your dentist may recommend a mouth guard to wear at night.

Putting the mouth guard in hot water will make it pliable so when you put it into your mouth and bite down, it will mold according to your teeth's shape and pattern. If this relieves the TMJ symptoms, you may ask your dentist for a custom-made one that you can wear to resolve your TMJ.

If your dentist is not a TMJ Specialist, he may recommend a dentist who specializes in TMJ problems, especially if yours is a severe case that is beyond his capacity to correct. 

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