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10 Things You Should Know About TMJ

Most people have heard of TMJ before … but do you fully understand the problem and how it could affect you? The office of Robert D. Moores, DDS, located in Paradise, CA, is here to help you understand the problem and help you get the care you need. Our team is experienced with helping patients who have TMJ troubles get relief and get back to their normal lives. If you have any questions regarding your dental care or would like to schedule an appointment, please call us at 530-413-7002. We look forward to hearing from you.

Without any further ado, here are 10 things you need to know about TMJ:

#1: TMJ is the joint, not the disorder.

TMJ stands for temporomandibular joint. That is your jaw joint! It is a common misconception that the term TMJ refers to a jaw joint disorder … this is not the case. To refer to a disorder or dysfunction associated with the TMJ, we say TMD (temporomandibular joint dysfunction). TMD can manifest in a variety of ways and for a variety of reasons. Regardless of the situation, it is often painful and can be debilitating for the patient. Any kind of pain in your head is simply no fun!

#2: TMJ problems can produce all sorts of different pain.

As mentioned above, TMD can manifest in a variety of ways. This means that there are no set standard of symptoms. However, there are a list of common ailments to watch out for. If you are experiencing any of the following types of pain, you may be suffering from TMJ problems (TMD) and should seek help.

  • jaw pain
  • neck pain
  • headaches
  • migraines
  • facial pain
  • earaches
  • popping or clicking of the jaw
  • lock jaw
  • upper back/shoulder pain

#3: TMJ problems can affect your jaw’s ability to move.

Sometimes, when the TMJ is experiencing problems, the muscles around the jaw can actually seize up and create mobility issues. TMD can actually limit your ability to chew and speak! If you are having trouble opening and closing your mouth (or experience pain when you do so)

#4: TMJ problems can be caused by a variety of things.

TMJ problems do not have one specific cause. Any stress on the joint can create trouble. TMD can be caused by life stress, stress to the joint due to mechanical issues, an injury, and other things. Talk to our team about what may be causing your TMJ trouble.

#5: Bruxism is a sneaky, but fairly common cause of TMJ-related symptoms.

Bruxism is the habitual grinding or clenching of your teeth. This can often happen while you work or sleep. While the causes of the bruxism are often neurological in nature, the physical results is often TMJ related. Grinding or clenching can put stress on the TMJ and cause discomfort. If you have bruxism, our team can help you protect your teeth and jaw. Contact our team today.

#6: Eating soft foods can help.

Tough-to-chew foods can continue to irritate sensitive TMJ muscles. If you are having TMJ troubles, try switching to softer foods to relieve stress on the joint. Allowing your muscles to rest may help eliminate the problem altogether. It will, at the very least, ease your symptoms.

#7: Reduce your stress to ease symptoms.

Did you know that we hold a lot of our stress in our face? This can affect your TMJ. If you are particularly stressed, your TMJ muscles may be tense, causing discomfort. Try to reduce stress in your life to ease TMD symptoms. We recommend reducing stressful activities as well as being sure to take time to relax, meditate, or read.

#8: Avoid alcohol, caffeine, and tobacco.

Alcohol, caffeine, and tobacco can actually irritate the tissue surrounding the TMJ can add to any issues you may be having. If you are having minor trouble with your TMJ, try cutting these things out of your life to see if it helps. Avoiding these things altogether can help prevent TMJ troubles.

#9: TMJ troubles can be treated.

Despite what some people believe, TMD CAN be treated! There are a variety of treatment options that can be utilized depending on your specific needs.

#10: Our team can help you.

The team at Robert D. Moores can help you get the relief you need! We can use occlusal splints (similar to mouthguards) or night guards to change the position of the jaw, allow the muscles around the TMJ to relax, and help you achieve comfort. However, we can’t do any of this without first examine your specific situation. We will customize a treatment plan just for you! Please contact our Paradise, CA dental team to get started.

You can reach us by calling 530-413-7002 or by sending us a message using our online contact form. Either way, we would be delighted to work you into our schedule. Don’t let TMJ pain keep you from living your life … let Dr. Moores and his experience team assist you!

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