Getting a root canal is never fun. Even though technology has advanced and the procedure is much more comfortable and pain-free than ever before, it is still a significant reason why people hate going to the dentist. When things go wrong inside a tooth, a root canal may be the only solution to save the…
Will a TMJ Disorder Go Away on Its Own?
The joint holding the jaw to the skull is called the temporomandibular joint, or TMJ. It is a complex system of bones, muscles and tendons that must work in sync to ensure the jaw can move and function properly. When one of the components has a problem, it may turn into a TMJ disorder that restricts jaw functions and causes pain, jaw locking and clicking, as well as abnormal popping. TMJ disorders often have an underlying cause, and unless the issue is treated the disorder may not disappear on its own.
The need for treatment
Although TMJ disorder is not a life-threatening condition, it can have a negative impact on someone’s life if left untreated. The disorder may cause headaches, chronic jaw pain, ringing in the ears and problems when chewing or biting. The longer the patient waits before seeking treatment, the worse the problem gets. Recurrent pain from TMJ disorder can disrupt sleep, cause eating disorders and affecting job performance and quality of life. Instead of bearing the discomfort while waiting for the disorder to disappear on its own, patients can simply visit the dentist for treatment.
Treatments for TMJ disorders
Patients who are experiencing TMJ symptoms need to talk to their dentist or an oral surgeon for an evaluation and treatment. These dental professionals have a deep understanding of the structures making up the jaw and are well-placed to detect the underlying cause of the TMJ disorder. At the first appointment, patients can expect to undergo a visual examination of their jaw and get an x-ray scan. The dentist will use the information obtained during the evaluation to develop a treatment plan.
An oral surgeon may be involved in the diagnosis and treatment of TMJ disorder, but the treatment plan may not involve a surgical procedure. Treatments for TMJ disorder usually starts conservatively, including procedures such as massage and physical therapy. Physical therapy or massage for strained jaw muscles may be effective for treating patients with TMJ problems.
Sometimes, stress could be a major contributing factor in the case of TMJ disorder. If the dental professional thinks stress is worsening the symptoms, they may recommend seeing a therapist for stress management techniques.
Bruxism, also known as teeth grinding, can also worsen TMJ disorder and cause pain due to the excess strain it induces on the jaw. Patients who grind their teeth may be able to relieve symptoms of TMJ disorder by wearing a custom mouthguard designed to stop teeth grinding.
If less invasive methods fail to improve TMJ symptoms, the dentist may recommend a surgical procedure as a last resort. The dentist may discover a structural impairment in the jaw responsible for the disorder, and surgery might be necessary to correct the problem. Otherwise, most of the treatment options for TMJ are usually performed on an outpatient basis without disrupting the patient’s routine.
TMJ disorders will probably not go away on their own, so if you are experiencing symptoms, such as jaw pain, contact a dentist to schedule an appointment.
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