What is TMJ?
TMJ stands for temporomandibular joint and muscle disorders. The temporomandibular joint is the joint that connects both sides of the jaw to the skull. Any condition that causes pain and dysfunction in this joint or in the surrounding muscles and bones can be considered TMJ.
Scientists are still not completely clear on all of the exact causes of TMJ, but there are some ideas as to some contributing factors of the disorder. It is believed that trauma to the joint or the surrounding areas is responsible for many cases of TMJ. It is also believed that in some cases the clenching and grinding forces of bruxism can lead to the disorder. Additionally, stress and arthritis are other possible causes of TMJ.
The most common symptom of TMJ is pain in the jaw joint or chewing muscles. Some patients who suffer from TMJ experience popping or clicking sounds when they open or close their jaw. Others experience muscle stiffness or a jaw that locks into an open or closed position. Another indication that you may be suffering from TMJ is if you experience a change in the way your teeth fit together.
Treatment options tend to take a conservative approach, as the pain that many patients experience will go away on its own. Some doctors will recommend making lifestyle changes, such as reducing stress, eating softer foods, and using ice packs for relief. There are also oral appliances that can be worn to help treat the condition. Surgery is only considered an option as a last resort.
If you are experiencing the painful symptoms of TMJ, contact our TMJ dentist in West Hollywood to schedule a consultation.
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