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Your Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) is an essential part of your everyday life.
It helps you to perform several facial functions properly such as eating, speaking, chewing, and more.
So don’t be surprised at how a TMJ disorder can become a major source of pain and inconvenience.
Be more surprised that a significant number of people in the United States are currently affected by a TMJ disorder.
Numbers show that 1 out of every 12 people in the country, which is 12% of the country’s population, or roughly about 35 million people suffer from TMJ disorders.
This doesn’t even account for the undiagnosed cases. So, the numbers can be significantly higher.
Add to this fact that only about 50 to 60% of people with a TMJ disorder will seek treatment.
If you are one of those suffering from the symptoms of TMJ, we will guide you through possible fixes of TMJ without surgery.
The temporomandibular joint or jaw joint is a complex sliding hinge joint that connects your jawbone to your skull.
Although it is one of the most used and most necessary sets of joints, it is sometimes the most misunderstood.
TMJ connects the lower jaw bone (the mandible) to the temporal bones of the skull on each side of the head.
They are the only joints in the body that work together as a unit when they are intact.
TMJ disorders, also known as TMD, are a complex under-researched, and poorly understood set of conditions characterized by pain in the jaw joint and surrounding tissues frequently associated with limitation in jaw movements.
Because TMJ disorders involve multi-system such as the circulatory, digestive, endocrine, exocrine, immune, muscular, nervous, reproductive, respiratory, and the skeletal system, a patient suffering from this condition will also suffer the following:
There are other comorbid conditions closely associated with TMJ disorder that is more prevalent or occur exclusively in women.
In addition, there are 30 health conditions that can coexist with TMJ disorders.
When both left and right, or either of both components of the joints is involved, it can severely affect a person’s ability to speak, chew, swallow, make facial expressions, and breathe.
Can you fix TMJ without surgery? The answer to this question will depend on the severity of the symptoms.
But, considering mild or periodic symptoms, the answer is yes.
According to the TMJ Organization, the National Institute of Health brochure on TMJ strongly recommends using the most conservative, reversible treatments possible.
These are TMJ disorder treatments that do not invade the tissue of the face, jaw, or joint or involve surgery.
This approach to TMJ disorders does not cause permanent changes in the structure or position of the jaw or teeth.
The TMJ Organization continued to emphasize that “if TMJ issues become persistent and severe, moving toward aggressive treatments does not necessarily ensure improvement of the symptoms.”
They suggested the following ways to fix TMJ disorder without surgery to ease TMJ symptoms that can cause discomfort and pain:
The most frequently used intervention with 65% of respondents was thermal therapy. This involves using hot or cold compresses to the jaw.
Fairly enough, 74% of the respondents said that the symptoms of TMJ disorder they experienced were reduced.
Use this method if you feel a dull, steady ache rather than sharp pain. Heat will help increase blood circulation to the area, relax jaw muscles, reduce pain, and improve function.
Follow these simple steps:
Occasional sharp pain in your jaw joints can be eased by applying a pair of cold packs.
This can decrease inflammation, numb pain, and promote healing. Do these steps:
Allow your jaws and surrounding muscles to rest by changing how you prepare your food and choosing to eat softer food.
Stay away from extremely hard, crunchy, and chewy food that will stress your TMJ. Also, avoid eating food that will require you to open your mouth wide.
You can take over-the-counter pain medicines or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) for short-term relief of the pain from your TMJ disorder. Ibuprofen is a classic example of this medicine.
Help reduce the risk of dental disease that can aggravate the discomfort and pain that you feel from TMJ by following routine maintenance of your teeth and gums.
When you properly take care of your teeth and visit your dentist regularly, you will prevent the need for invasive dental treatments. Follow the self-care tips your dentist will recommend that you can do at home.
Exercising the area where your TMJ lies can help relieve tension and offer relief from TMJ pain. Consider performing these exercises:
You can follow the specific steps of these exercises at Medical News Today.
In many cases, the cause of a TMJ disorder may not be clear.
It can be an excessive strain on the jaw joints and the muscle group that controls chewing, swallowing, and speech, according to John Hopkins Medicine.
Nevertheless, surgery is not the prime choice in fixing a TMJ disorder.
In fact, it is highly recommended that conservative and reversible treatments should be used. These are treatments with no surgery involved.
Unless surgery is needed to restore full use of your TMJ, you can properly and effectively deal with your TMJ disorder at home by following the outlined ways to ease TMJ symptoms.
But if you want to hear from the expert, you should call your local Baton Rouge dentist and learn more about TMJ and how to prevent it from getting worse
Tiger Smile Family Dentistry offers a variety of dental care services and treatments in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Led by Dr. Cecilia L. Luong, her team of dentists has been assisting clients with different teeth, gum, and mouth problems.