How to Prevent TMJ

Temporomandibular joint syndrome, or simply TMJ, is a serious problem for many people. Women between the ages of 18 to 44 are most likely to suffer from TMJ, but it can be diagnosed in both men and women of all ages. The condition is a problem of the jaw muscles and nerves that is the result of damage to the temporomandibular joint. That joint connects the jaw to the skull.

The problems associated with this condition can manifest itself in many ways. Some of the symptoms that people typically suffer from include:

  • Pain with chewing
  • Clicking or popping of the jaw
  • Swelling of the side of the face
  • Headaches
  • Tooth grinding and pain
  • Blurred vision
  • Neck pain and stiffness
  • Dislocation of the joint

The pain that a person feels can range from mild to moderate to severe. If a dislocation occurs, it may require surgery to fix.

Causes of TMJ

While it is all well and good to say that women between the ages of 18 and 44 are more likely to develop this condition, but most people would like to know what the causes are besides a person’s sex or age. While the exact cause may not always be easy to determine there are several factors that could result in this condition.

  • Misalignment of the jaw and teeth – This can be the result of something a person is born with or it could be due to an injury that has occurred
  • Grinding of teeth – over time this can cause the jaw to become misaligned
  • Poor posture – problems with posture can affect the spinal cord which can in turn create a problem with the joint
  • Arthritis and other conditions which create inflammation in the skeletal system

There may be other reasons that people develop this condition, but no matter why a person has it, they need to find ways to treat it. The condition can create many problems in the body and can affect the overall health of the individual

Treating Temporomandibular Joint Syndrome

The one thing that a person should not do is ignore the effects of TMJ. They should find ways to treat the condition. Fortunately, there are many things that a person can do to manage the condition. The treatments range from home remedies for the pain associated with the condition to non-surgical treatments from a health professional to surgical treatment plans.

  • Home remedies – Most of the home remedies will deal with managing the pain. Ice packs and over the counter medication can provide relief from the pain. Behavior modifications such as eliminating gum chewing and other habits that stress the jaw can prevent the pain from occurring. Many people have found that relaxation techniques such as yoga and meditation can help relieve the stress that the jaw muscles are under and can reduce the impact of TMJ. While home remedies can reduce the impact and reduce the pain that is associated with this condition, they will not always resolve the problems for long periods of time. They are usually temporary solutions to the problem.
  • Nonsurgical treatments – seeking medical help from a health professional can provide relief for people with a more severe problem. A dental splint or a mouth guard can help realign the jaw properly. Prescription pain killers can also be used to manage the pain. A chiropractor can also use their skills to realign the entire body include the jaw. When the body is properly aligned the problems associated with TMJ may disappear. These types of treatment can provide relief for a longer period of time, although they still may not provide a permanent solution.
  • Surgery – This is an option for people that are suffering from severe problems associated with the condition. Dental surgery and a surgery on the jaw can relieve the pressure that is a result of the misalignment of the jaw. There are many risks associated with any surgery that need to be considered. The recovery from the surgery is also difficult. The jaw will be wired shut during the recovery, which can create other issues for the individual.

Temporomandibular joint syndrome is not a life-threatening condition. It is something that can be managed or in most cases can be fixed. Most people will be able to live with the minor discomfort that comes with the condition. The use of home remedies and non-surgical remedies is usually all that most people will have to do to manage the condition.

While the problems associated with this condition are manageable and there are things that can be done to correct the problem, it may be better for people to learn how to prevent it from happening. Avoiding habits such as gum chewing that are linked to TMJ could prevent the problem from occurring. Other things that can be done include focusing on good posture, reducing stress and spending time at a chiropractor to help keep all of the muscles and bones in the body properly aligned.

For more information about TMJ, and what can be done, contact Progressive Dental Care Center and schedule an appointment.

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