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General Dentistry Facts: 5 Things You May Not Know About TMJ
General dentistry offices treat a variety of conditions, including temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ). The temporomandibular joint connects the skull to the jaw, and numerous people have an issue with it. If you think you might have a problem with TMJ, learn some facts, so you will be prepared when you go to the dentist.
1. TMJ symptoms
Countless people who experience jaw pain think they might have TMJ. Therefore, it is important to understand the symptoms of this disorder.
- Jaw pain or tenderness
- Pain in the temporomandibular joint
- Pain around the ear and in the face
- Discomfort while chewing
- Locking joint
2. It is dangerous to ignore
Some people want to tough it out, but it is dangerous to ignore TMJ. This condition is associational with issues such as poor nutrition, sleep problems, stress disorders and bruxism. Ignoring the problem could make it worse. Instead, people need to seek treatment that allows them to get to the root of the issue sooner than later.
3. Diagnosing TMJ
Sufferers are encouraged to go to an office of general dentistry if they think they might have TMJ. Dentists have the necessary tools to diagnose the issue.
The process begins with an evaluation. Dentists examine the neck and head to look for signs of TMJ.
X-rays are often necessary when diagnosing TMJ. After the examination, the dentist takes X-rays to look for problems associated with TMJ.
4. Causes of TMJ
People who develop TMJ often wonder what causes it. Causes vary from one patient to the next, however. Dentists examine the patient to determine the specific cause in each case. Common causes include injuries, bruxism, arthritis and tightening of the jaw due to stress.
5. TMJ treatment
In some cases, people can alleviate the symptoms without seeking medical intervention. In other cases, though, patients need to go to the dentist for help.
Those who want to try to alleviate the symptoms on their own should start by applying cold packs to their jaw muscles. This will reduce inflammation.
Changing the diet is also a good idea. Soft foods are less likely to cause TMJ to flare up.
Those who grind their teeth can also use nightguards to reduce the symptoms.
If at-home treatments do not work, people are encouraged to go to an office of general dentistry. Dentists can use a variety of approaches to treat TMJ, including fixing uneven bites or creating a mouthguard to alleviate the symptom of bruxism.
In some cases, surgery is required. Dentists go over all the options and help patients pick the right one for their specific needs.
Get treatment for TMJ with general dentistry
If you have any symptoms of TMJ, contact a general dentistry clinic to get an evaluation. Living with TMJ is not just uncomfortable. It is dangerous. It is important to get the help you need before the problem gets worse.
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