What is TMJ or Temporomandibular Joint Disorder?

Those with unidentifiable facial pain sometimes asked the question of what is TMJ? Technically, TMJ is also known as temporomandibular joint disorder. In short, it is a condition that affects the face as well as a range of joints and muscles, and ligaments that result in pain in the immediate area in and around the facial region. More specifically, TMJ is usually referencing pain in the jaw joints. Interestingly, several million people throughout the country suffer from this painful syndrome. That said a large body of research has proven one thing and that is that researchers do not totally understand the full ramifications of TMJ and what causes the condition. 

Affects Teens More Than Older Adults
Affects Teens More Than Older Adults 

When it comes to modern dentistry, TMJ does have some remedy. For example, a dental care provider may be able to fit a patient with a mouthguard or an oral appliance to help reduce grinding of teeth at night. This may in some cases alleviate pain associated with the condition. However, it is not a solve all. Another important distinction when talking about this syndrome is that it seems to affect teens more than it does older adults. This is likely due to the fact that a child’s head develops at a different pace than the skull in teenagers and young adults. 

Soft Foods That Require Less Jaw Pressure
Soft Foods That Require Less Jaw Pressure 

Another interesting statistic is that TMJ is sometimes shown to be more common in women than it is in men. In terms of treatment, there are some surgical solutions that can be discussed with a dental care provider or oral surgeon. Other less invasive solutions to the problem include changing diet and eating soft foods that require less jaw pressure. At the end of the day, it really comes down to strain and stress on muscles or joints in the facial area. Sometimes muscle relaxants can help as well as other types of medication. In other cases, implants can be placed by an oral surgeon as a way to alleviate the pain caused by TMJ. If you have this condition or believe you might have this condition it is best to talk with your dentist in Stockton, Sajjad Rizvi, DDS at Happy Kids Dental to learn more. 

[1] Do I Need TMJ Treatment?
[2] What Is TMJ?

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