Let’s Discuss TMJ/TMD: Diagnosis and Treatment

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discuss tmj/tmd: diagnosis and treatment

A lot of people don’t realize that problems regarding their oral health can also impact the health of the rest of their body, including their neck and head. A common condition that can create such a domino effect is TMJ/TMD.

TMJ stands for temporomandibular joint; TMD is the disorder that arises when this particular joint is out of place. Fortunately, here at our local dental clinic, we offer TMJ treatment near you. Get in touch with our dentist in Okotoks today!

What is TMJ/TMD?

Your mandible (or jawbone) is connected to your skull by two joints. There is one joint located on either side of your face. TMD disorder occurs when this joint is unaligned. This can lead to a whole array of health problems, including, but certainly not limited to the following:

  1. Earaches and ear infections.
  2. Hearing loss.
  3. Difficulty and pain when chewing.
  4. Lockjaw.
  5. A clicking noise whenever you move your jaw.
  6. Headaches.
  7. Chronic facial pain and soreness.
  8. A constant ringing in your ears.

TMD is more common in younger demographics; it is also more commonly found in women as opposed to men.

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and upper body injuries like a displaced disk may lead to the development of TMD. However, the exact origins of this condition remain unknown. Severe stress is thought to be a large contributor because when people are anxious or frustrated, they tend to clench or grind their teeth, especially when they sleep. If this continues for an extended period, your teeth can be worn down and your jaw can become inflamed and start to deteriorate.

TMD can be diagnosed by a dentist or by an ear, nose, and throat doctor, also called an otolaryngologist.

Treatment for TMD

Prior to receiving any type of dental or oral and maxillofacial treatment, always be sure to schedule an appointment with a dentist near you. They will be able to explain each step of the process, so you know what to expect and aren’t met with any surprises.

Listed below are some strategies that you can execute in order to manage as well as reduce any pain you experience as a result of TMD:

  1. Eat healthily.
  2. Exercise daily.
  3. Use an ice pack to reduce any swelling.
  4. If you’re able, gently stretch your jaw by practicing some simple exercises. Such may include resting your front teeth on a pen/pencil for a few moments, resting your tongue behind your upper teeth so your jaw can relax, and shifting your jaw from side to side.

However, alongside these steps, it’s always a wise idea to speak to a healthcare professional. They’ll be able to prescribe medications that can reduce pain and relax your muscles, as well as recommend other modes of TMJ therapy. Receiving an oral appliance that moves your jaw forward or a mouth guard is another great avenue to explore. Finally, surgery may be a viable choice for you as well.

Always be sure to follow any instructions or advice provided to you by your dentist. As most, if not all people know, there are advantages and disadvantages to any course of treatment. Don’t be afraid to let your dentist know if you have any questions or concerns. They’ll be able to recommend you to a dental specialist from whom you can acquire further insight.

Are you looking to receive convenient TMJ therapy in Okotoks? We’ve got you covered! At Essential Dentistry, our staff is here to aid you in all your oral health endeavors. Call, come in, or visit our website to book an appointment and get started today! We very much look forward to working with you!