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The Temporomandibular Joint
The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is a joint in the front of the ear that slides and rotates. It includes the temporal bone which is at the side and base of the skull, and the lower jaw or mandible. Mastication muscles, used for chewing, link the lower jaw to your skull, making it possible for the different jaw movements, forward to the side and also to open and close.
Then the lower jaw and it’s joint on either side are synchronized in their motions, the TMJ will work properly. Temporomandibular Disorder (TMD) happens when the jaw twists while opening, shutting or moving to the side. These motions influence the jaw joint and the chewing muscles.
A range of problems affecting the jaw muscles, temporomandibular bones, and the nerves linked with persistent facial pain, are classified as TMD. You can have symptoms on only one or on both sides of the face, jaw or head. It can occur after an injury. Two times as many women experience TMD than men, and it is the most typical persistent orofacial pain or discomfort that is not related to dental problems.
The causes of TMD
This muscle group typically is used for chewing, swallowing, and talking. It is believed by many specialists that there are certain tasks that can cause or worsen TMD– intense physical tasks involving the jaw or even situations of stress. An overuse of this muscle can create discomfort, especially bruxism–grinding or the clenching of the teeth.
These extreme practices can tire the jaw muscles, leading to discomforts, like neck pain or headaches. Worn or sensitive teeth, muscle soreness, traumatized soft tissue, discomfort in the jaw while eating, and headaches on the side (temporal) can all result from the unusual function.
The symptoms of TMD
- Earache without any infection present
- Jaw discomfort or tenderness that is much more widespread within the early morning or later part of the afternoon
- Jaw discomfort whenever you chew, bite or yawn
- Clicking while opening and shutting the mouth
- Difficulty in opening and shutting the mouth
- Suddenly locked jaw or stiff jaw while chatting, yawning or eating
- Sensitive teeth with no other dental problems present
Many cases of TMD can be addressed by resting the joint, using a non-aspirin pain reliever, and using relaxation techniques or managing stress. You will experience a reduction in symptoms when you break bad habits. Treatments for TMD can be easy, usually can be completed at home, and do not require surgical procedures. For instance, you can reduce the clenching or grinding of your teeth by putting your tongue between your teeth throughout the day. If you clench or grind your teeth at night, it may cause the pain to persist, therefore, see your dentist for a mouthguard to wear at night.
Many individuals will encounter relief with minor therapy. Physical therapy, cold and hot packs, posture correction, or orthopedic appliances, can be utilized for more serious cases. The muscles can be kept relaxed by eating soft foods and staying away chewing gum.
Is TMD a permanent problem?
TMD can occur in cycles and also during times of anxiety or stress. You need to keep on top of your treatment by knowing the factors that cause your jaw problems, and keeping in the treatment therapy prescribed by your dentist. Keep in routine dental care appointments, so that your dentist can inspect your TMD regularly.