TEMPOROMANDIBULAR DYSFUNCTION THERAPY
TMJ stands for Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction while TMD stands for Temporomandibular Disorders. Temporomandibular got its name from two different bones that converge at the joint: the mandible and the upper temporal bone. The mandible is a bone while the upper temporal bone is part of the skull.
The TMJ is the hinge that connects the mandible and lower jaw to the temporal skull bone. It includes the surrounding disks, bone, tissue, and muscle group that controls talking, chewing, and yawning. Each of the two TMJs is on each side of our jaw. These joints play a very important role in our lives as they work corporately to move our jaw up and down. Without these hinges, we wouldn’t be able to eat or speak as effectively as possible.
There are a wide variety of muscles, ligaments, tendons, and blood vessels surrounding the TMJ. Thus, TMD occurs for various reasons. Truly, there is no one specific cause of TMJ disorder, meaning there are varying symptoms to this disorder.
WHAT EXACTLY ARE THE SYMPTOMS?
- Unusual Noises
When you hear unusual noises when moving your jaw, this may be a sign of joint dysfunction.
- Tightening of Jaw
Another symptom of the Temporomandibular joint disorder is a continuous tightening of the jaw bone. If left untreated, this could cause a lot of pain.
Arthritis affects fingers and knees but it could as well spread to the jaw joint. However, rheumatoid and osteoarthritis can affect the jaw joint.
- Limited Movement
If you have a feeling that you cannot open your jaw wide open, this may be a symptom.
- Subjecting Your Jaw To Extreme Pressure
For instance, when your jaw is clenched a lot as a result of too much pressure exerted on the jaw, you may be experiencing TMD. This is also known as bruxism and it occurs while asleep. Excessively chewing gum can also be another cause of this disorder.
If you are feeling any of the above symptoms, you should consult your dentist. Even if it seems like you don’t have temporomandibular dysfunction, there could be another condition that may cause such symptom.
As we all know, pain leads to a lot of suffering! It can affect ones mood, relationship, alertness, and so many other things. These scenarios are life changing situations and could get worse if left untreated. You are advised to start treating it early with the right therapy so as to eliminate the pain completely. Below are some TMJ/TMD therapies.
Some doctors use this to alleviate your symptoms since Temporomandibular dysfunction is thought to be a disorder that can be caused by anxiety.
- Massage Therapy
When done regularly by a professional, this technique can help the muscle release tension in the jaw and offer relief to the stress responsible for TMJ pain. Massage, along with cold or hot therapy has offered great pain relief for TMJ pain over the years.
- Custom Fit Bite Guard
This treatment is specially designed for TMJ. A custom fit bite guard is made of specialized acrylic which fits over the teeth and worn every night. The stress placed on the joints leads to this order; thus, your doctor will make sure your jaw is relieved from the stress.
Regular TMJ designed exercises are another effective and more popular ways of dealing with TMJ. These exercises are designed to strengthen the jaw and muscles, and also help to re-align the jaw. There has been outstanding results from this methods and it is thought to be the first therapy one should undergo after been diagnosed with TMJ.
Since one of the major causes of TMJ is muscle tension, this technique teaches the patient to control muscle tension and other involuntary processes. By learning to relax and control muscle tension, you can as well control TMJ pain.
Without early diagnosis, finding the right treatment may be difficult. It is better you apply TMJ therapy as early as possible after diagnosis.
At times, the above methods can be supported by several techniques such as:
- prescription medications
- diet of softer foods
- stopping gum chewing
This keeps your teeth apart and prevents your jaw from grinding the teeth. It also supports the muscles and stabilizes the joints, restraining dysfunctional movements.