If you are experiencing chronic pain in or around your jaw, you could be suffering from TMD or temporomandibular joint disorder. The temporomandibular joint and the surrounding muscles connect your skull to your jaw. You may not have heard of TMJ disorder, but the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates that between 5 and 12 percent of people suffer from this painful condition.
HOW TO KNOW IF YOU HAVE TMJ DISORDER
Joint pain in the temporomandibular joint is usually indicated by a few common symptoms:
- Pain or stiffness in your jaw
- Pain or soreness in your face
- A popping noise when you open or close your jaw
The pain caused by TMJ disorder can negatively affect your overall quality of life. Fortunately, there are several treatments available that can alleviate the pain, and many of those treatments can be provided by dentists who treat TMD.
TMD TREATMENT OPTIONS
The first step is to locate a dentist who treats TMD if yours doesn’t already. An experienced dental professional may begin by prescribing anti-inflammatory medicines, or recommending that the patient try other non-invasive treatment options, such as hot and cold compresses, for example. But if your TMJ pain is more acute, there are other treatment options available:
- If your TMJ issues are caused by a misaligned bite, your dentist may recommend braces or some type of corrective ware to line up your bite properly.
- For people who are in a lot of pain, some dentists may suggest injection therapy, where anesthesia is injected into the jaw and facial muscles to alleviate the pain.
- TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) is a procedure that relaxes the joints in order to reduce pain. Radio wave therapy works to stimulate blood flow, which in turn reduces pain. Ultrasound has also been proven to be effective in reducing pain since it creates heat inside the joint.
- People who have severe cases of TMD may choose surgery to alleviate the problem.
TMJ disorder can not only cause pain and discomfort during the day, but it can also disrupt your sleep, and that can have a negative impact on your overall health. If you believe that you may suffer from TMJ disorder, there’s no reason to continue living with chronic pain. Call a qualified dentist today. Most non-invasive treatment methods have proven to be very effective in reducing or eliminating the pain associated with this condition.
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