These days when you see an acronym or an abbreviated word, it’s safe to assume it’s in reference to a new app, social media/texting vernacular or the name of a new musical group (usually of the pop variety). TMJ however does not fit into any of those categories.
The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is the hinging joint, which connects your jaw and skull. It is located in the front of each ear and is responsible for allowing us to open up our jaws to do things like talk and eat. Issues that arise in this area of the jaw are known as TMD’s or temporomandibular disorders. TMDs can vary which makes it that much harder to pinpoint the main cause for them in the first place. However, in many cases pain in those joints is usually caused by things such as head trauma from an injury, arthritis in those joints, and facial stress which causes the muscles and joints in that area to tighten up.
Some common symptoms of a TMJ disorder include:
– Pain and/tenderness from the shoulders upward (shoulders, neck, jaw, mouth, ears) when you eat or speak.
– If your mouth gets stuck or locked in either an open or closed position.
– A tired feeling in the face area.
If you believe that you may be suffering from a TMD, the next step to take is to visit your local Ottawa dental professional and make them aware of your concern. After the Ottawa dental professional has assessed your mouth and has mad the diagnosis of a TMD, they can determine the best treatment option.
Some treatment options that your Ottawa dental professional may offer to you include:
– Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS), a device that uses electrical currents to help relax the affected area.
– An oral appliance that can be custom fitted for your mouth that is worn while sleeping to prevent biting and teeth grinding, which would help alleviate pressure on the jaw.
In special cases, based on the severity of the TMD in question surgery is also an option. In any case, make sure your Ottawa dental professional goes over all treatment options beforehand and have them answer any questions or concerns you may have.