PREVENTIVE DENTISTRY - TMJ Therapy
TMJ stands for temporomandibular joint, and refers to the joint of the jaw. For most people this joint is entirely forgettable as the mouth works as nothing and people are able to chew uninhibited, but those who have problems with their TMJ joints understand how painful it is. Imagine if every time you chewed your joints were wracked with pain.
Those who have this problem may be surprised that the first port of call is often the dentist, when it comes to getting therapy to assuage the pain and fix the issues that are causing the TMJ joint to work poorly.
If the TMJ is misaligned enough, it can cause TMJ syndrome, which not only triggers pain in the jaw, but can also extend down to the neck and shoulders. The remedy for TMJ syndrome is a careful combination of mouth guards, bite therapy, and physical therapy exercises.
The mouth guards – often known as dental splints – are applied to relieve pain. Afterwards, both dentists and physical therapists will work together to analyze the exact cause of the pain and what can be done to relieve pain on a permanent basis and resolve the issues causing the pain.
Generally, after the analysis, the dentist will prescribe a certain number and type of exercises to eliminate pain and correct alignment problems. It will help you if you use a mirror when you execute these exercises to watch the joint and make sure that you’re performing them correctly.
Bite therapy is where, after carefully analysis of your mouth, the dentist discerns the ultimate cause of your TMJ. Some people have a misalignment of the teeth while others may have a jaw clenching issue that stresses out the muscles.
No matter what the cause of your TMJ is, you and your dentist can work together and find an appropriate therapy to control your pain and fix the problem.