The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) in your mouth is a hinge that connects your jaw to your skull. There is one TMJ joint on each side of the jaw. This joint can have a number of disorders, known as TMJ disorders. This can cause severe pain in the jawbone, leading to a number of health problems.
Symptoms of TMJ disorders
A TMJ disorder can cause the jawbone to make clicking sounds when the patient is chewing, yawning or talking. Not all TMJ disorders require treatment. It is only necessary if the disorder is causing severe pain or limiting the function of the jaw.
There are several signs that a patient has a TMJ disorder. These signs include:
- An ache in the face, especially if it is located near the ear
- Locking of the TMJ joint, which can make it difficult to properly open the mouth
- Pain while chewing food
- Pain in the TMJ joints, even while at rest
- Tenderness in the jawbone
Patients should seek medical attention if it is difficult to completely open or even close the jaw. Persistent pain is another sign that it is necessary to seek medical attention for this disorder. While there is no standard diagnosis for this condition, a medical professional will be able to diagnose a patient depending on the symptoms.
Treating TMJ disorders
It is extremely important for patients to treat TMJ disorders. If left untreated, these disorders can lead to a number of other oral health problems. For example, this condition can eventually lead to permanently damaged joints in the jaw. The patient will be unable to open or close the jaws and will need to visit the emergency room.
Untreated TMJ can also lead to increased levels of pain in the area. Eventually, the pain can become unbearable and more difficult to treat. TMJ can also cause oral problems, such as gum disease or even trauma to the teeth.
Finally, untreated TMJ can lead to other medical conditions in some cases. For example, it can be difficult to eat with this condition, so some patients may develop eating disorders. Others may simply get poor nutrition, which can cause other health problems. Patients may suffer from depression.
Treatment options for TMJ disorders
TMJ disorders can have serious effects on communication and an individual’s health. One way that a dentist can treat TMJ disorders is through a customized mouthguard. This can prevent teeth grinding during the night, a common cause of TMJ disorders. Changes in the alignment of the jaws, teeth or bite can also help improve the symptoms of TMJ disorders. A dentist will be able to recommend any other treatment options for the patient as well.
Visit a dentist today
TMJ disorders can affect a patient’s everyday life. It is important that these disorders are treated so you can go back to enjoying life. Otherwise, they can cause several troubling health problems. A dentist can help you work through your symptoms and offer treatments for you.
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