If you are experiencing stiffness or pain in your jaw, it’s possible that you have temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ). Of course, there are other symptoms, like headaches or neck pain, stiffness in the upper back, and clicking or locking in the jaw, but these are the two most common, and the problem with TMJ is that if it isn’t treated, the symptoms can get even worse. Fortunately, help is available at our Staten Island office, and the benefits of proper TMJ treatment can’t be overstated.
So, what exactly is TMJ? Your temporomandibular joints are what allow your jaw to move properly. Needless to say, those joints get a lot of use. You eat, you talk, you smile, you brush your teeth – you get the idea. And if you’re feeling stressed, you might clench your jaw, thereby putting even more stress on those joints. Sometimes, the temporomandibular joints just decide that they’ve had enough, and they stop working properly. If that happens, you need to see a dentist for TMJ treatment.
There are a variety of treatments available. You’ll begin by seeing your dentist for a consultation, at which time a number of options may be presented to you. Usually, the most conservative choice is tried first, and your progress will be monitored in order to determine if further treatment is warranted. Treatments may include medications, oral splints, or in some cases, surgery. Often, simple stress management techniques can provide relief. Among the benefits of TMJ treatment, the first and foremost is that your discomfort can be alleviated. Additionally, the risk of damage to your teeth can be reduced. This is because one of the most common causes of TMJ is grinding your teeth. In fact, it can be a vicious circle – the grinding causes the TMJ disorder, and because of the discomfort, you grind your teeth even more, aggravating the TMJ, which you seek to relieve by – well, again, you get the idea.
One of the most common treatments for TMJ is the use of a night guard. Often, people grind their teeth in their sleep, so of course they don’t realize that they’re doing it. A night guard prevents grinding.
Another benefit of TMJ treatment is that you can actually begin enjoying your food again. Often, people with TMJ avoid eating, or restrict themselves to certain foods. Treatment means that you’ll no longer experience pain when eating, so a full range of dietary options will be opened up to you once more.
If you suspect that you have TMJ disorder, see our dentists at Drs. Galligan & Villa Dental Studio in Staten Island. Call 718-984-7700 to schedule an appointment to talk about your TMJ treatment today! You don’t have to suffer.