Temporomandibular joint syndrome, or TMJ, is a painful condition that affects approximately 10 million Americans chronically or intermittently. There are many potential causes of TMJ, however for many, treatment isn’t clear.
The temporomandibular joint is located where the jaw meets the skull. When a traumatic injury occurs in this area, everyday activities like talking and chewing become taxing. Issues including direct trauma, teeth misalignment, teeth grinding, arthritis, excessive gum chewing, stress, and poor posture can all cause TMJ syndrome.
TMJ feels like pain or soreness at the jaw and is especially prominent when chewing food. Eating soft food during the interim and applying an ice pack to the region is often enough to resolve any symptoms. For many, TMJ syndrome is temporary and will resolve itself on it’s own, but for others this is not the case, and medical intervention will be required.
If you are experiencing chronic pain, the first place to start your treatment for TMJ is at the dentist as he or she can diagnose your potential causes of TMJ and can properly resolve the root problem. If, for example, your teeth are misaligned, your dentist can diagnose this and create a recommended action plan.
Also, in order to increase comfort levels, a dentist will likely suggest fitting you for a dental splint. A dental splint, similar to a mouthguard, will be strategically placed in your mouth and will help relax your jaw and help fix any joint alignment issues.
Surgery or other medical intervention may be necessary in severe cases. Luckily for most, a dental splint is enough to alleviate the majority of symptoms. There is truly no reason to suffer from chronic jaw pain as proper treatment is available from your dentist. If you are experiencing symptoms of TMJ, call your dentist today so you can go about your life pain free.