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3D rendered xray of a skull with the TMJ highlightedThe temporomandibular joints (TMJ) are the two joints that slide and rotate in front of each ear, connecting the skull to your lower jaw. These joints, which comprise the temporal bone and the mandible jaw, allow the jaw to move up and down, side to side, and forward and back. Chewing, yawning, talking, and swallowing are all possible when the joints are appropriately positioned. When muscles, the jawbone, ligaments, and the disk are out of alignment, they may all cause problems. Temporomandibular disorders (TMD) are problems with the TMJ, jaw, muscles, and nerves. TMD occurs when the muscles, joints, and bones do not cooperate. Lone Pine Dental provides assistance in the treatment of these disorders.

Risk Factors for TMD

The common cause is excessive strain on the jaw joints or muscles involved in eating, talking, or swallowing. TMD may be caused by bruxism, clenching, or involuntary teeth grinding, which causes damage to the jaw, neck, or head, leading to TMD pain. TMD pain may be caused by a dislocated jaw or arthritis. Other medical conditions, such as fibromyalgia or irritable bowel syndrome, may also induce TMD.

How is the Problem Diagnosed?

The dentist will examine your jaw and talk with you about your symptoms. They will also listen to your jaw while you open and shut your mouth. Then they will assess your jaw movement to see if it is normal, pressing particular areas to see if there is any discomfort or pain on your jaw. When an issue is discovered, certain procedures must be taken. To examine the jaw and teeth, dental x-rays are obtained. CT scans offer comprehensive pictures of your bones that are linked to the joint. An MRI can identify soft tissue or joint disk problems.

Treatment for TMJ Disorder

Some symptoms resolve on their own, but if they persist, therapy is advised. Anti-inflammatories and pain relievers are among the most popular treatments, but if these are unsuccessful, stronger pain relievers may be prescribed for a period of time. Tricyclic antidepressants are used to treat depression as well as pain relief, bruxism control, and insomnia. Muscle relaxants are used to relieve pain produced by TMJ problems and spasms, but not on a regular basis.

Possible Treatments

Wearing mouth guards or oral splints, which strengthen the jaw and teeth, are non-drug interventions for TMJ ailments, especially if the damage is caused by stress on the jaw or teeth. Physical therapy is essential because it includes exercises that stretch and strengthen the jaw muscles, such as moist heat, ultrasound, and ice application. Counseling and pain reduction measures are crucial. This is to help you prevent and manage discomfort caused by habits like leaning on your chin, grinding your teeth, biting your fingernails, and clenching your teeth.

Natural Treatments

TMJ pain and TMD issues are avoidable. To begin, it is advisable to avoid overusing the jaw muscles by eating soft foods and avoiding chewy items such as gum. At home, you may stretch and massage your jaw muscles. For further information about TMD/TMJ treatment, please contact Lone Pine Dental at (541) 668-8036.
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