The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is where the upper and lower jaws connect. Located directly in front of the ear on both sides of the head, the TMJ has the appearance of a sliding ball and socket with a disc sandwiched in between. Within the TMJ are moving parts that allow the jaws to open and close.
When there are no issues with the TMJ, a person can yawn, speak, and eat foods with ease; however, there are times when a person encounters problems with his TMJ. When this happens, that person may have a case of TMJ disorder. A person with TMJ disorder is likely to experience symptoms including popping of the jaw, pain while chewing, sore jaw or neck, teeth grinding, nerve inflammation, and headaches.
Treatment for TMJ Disorder
TMJ disorder can go away with little or no treatment. Some treatments for the condition can be done by the suffering individual within the comfort of his own home, like applying ice packs, taking over-the-counter medicine, or eating soft foods. Sometimes, the help of an Atlanta, GA dentist is necessary, wherein the dentist will have to insert a specialized tool in the patient’s mouth such as a dental splint, mouth guard, or night guard—to keep the teeth aligned and prevent them from grinding, which could further aggravate the TMJ problem. In even rarer cases, a surgery will be needed to take care of the issue.
TMJ Disorder Classifications
The American Academy of Orofacial Pain (AAOP) divides TMJ disorder into two classifications: muscle-related and joint-related. It is important to note that these two types are usually present in one patient, and this makes diagnosis and treatment of the condition more difficult.
What to Do if You Have TMJ Disorder
Oftentimes, TMJ disorder is confused with earache because of the joint’s proximity to a person’s ear. If you’re feeling pain in the ear coupled with the symptoms described above, visit a dental office like Buckhead Esthetic Dentistry, which is known to be one of the leading Atlanta dentists you can count on. Such offices offer various types of effective treatment for TMJ disorder, depending on your specific diagnosis. Treatment include splint therapy, night guards, and even dental bonding, dental crowns, porcelain veneers, and other forms of dental restorations so as to correct the damage brought on by the disorder.
(Source: Temporomandibular Joint Syndrome (TMJ), MedicineNet)