If you hear someone say “I have TMJ” what they probably mean is that they are suffering from a TMJ disorder. Your temporomandibular joints, called TMJ, are the part of your body that make it possible to open and close your mouth. Located on either side of your skull, they work together whenever you chew, speak or swallow. This complex system includes the associated muscles and ligaments as well as the jaw bone as they control the movement of your jaw forward, backward and side to side.
Each TMJ has a disc of sponge-like cartilage between the ball and socket of the joint. This disc supports the load and allows the jaw to open wide and rotate or glide. Any problem that prevents this complicated system of muscles, ligaments, discs and bones from working properly can be considered a TMJ disorder. Dentists like Dr. Gray A. Bailey of Absolute Quality Care Family Dentistry in Prairieville, LA can diagnose and treat this problem to alleviate the discomfort and stop the progression of dental issues that TMJ disorders can bring on.
What Causes TMJ Disorders (TMD)?
Possible causes of TMJ disorders include:
- Alignment of jaw and teeth
- Teeth grinding due to stress
How is TMJ Diagnosed?
A dentist must diagnosis the issue before treatment can begin. A typical dental examination includes checking the joints and muscles of the jaw for tenderness, clicking, popping or difficulty of motion.
Depending on the severity of the diagnosis, Dr. Bailey may refer you to a physician or a dental specialist for more advanced treatment.
How is TMJ Treated?
For basic cases of TMD there are several methods of treatments. The step-by-step plan below advocates simple remedies to try at home before moving on to more involved treatment. These steps follow a “less is more” approach in treating TMJ disorders, which includes:
- Eating softer foods
- Avoiding chewing gum and biting your nails
- Applying heat packs to the pain
- Practicing relaxation techniques to alleviate tension in the jaw, including meditation or biofeedback.
If your symptoms are more severe, the following treatments may be recommended by Dr. Bailey:
- Exercises to strengthen your jaw muscles
- Medications prescribed by your dentist; such as muscle relaxants, analgesics, anti-
- Anxiety drugs or anti-inflammatory medications
- A mouth guard or bite plate to reduce clenching or grinding of teeth.
TMJ Disorder Treatment in Prairieville, LA
In some cases, your dentist may recommend correct an uneven bite by adjusting or reshaping some teeth. Orthodontic treatment may even be recommended if the disorder is severe. Dr. Bailey can suggest the most appropriate therapy based on the determined cause. If you are in the Prairieville, LA area and think you may be suffering from TMJ disorder, any other dental ailment or just need a cleaning or consultation, please call 225.452.4666 to schedule with Dr. Bailey at Absolute Quality Care Family Dentistry or schedule with our office online.