TMJ disorder (TMJD, or more commonly, TMD) is an inflammation of the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). It can cause clicking, popping, grinding, and/or pain and discomfort. For those afflicted, the simple act of opening and closing their mouths can become a difficult and uncomfortable activity, and for some people the pain can even make it difficult to sleep at night. While the exact causes of TMD are not understood, there are options for treatment for TMJ disorder that can ease the pain and help sufferers regain control of their life.
- TMJ Treatment With Exercise
Tension and strain on the jaw muscles plays a part in TMD, so strengthening and stretching these muscles can sometimes help. With your hand, slowly and gently apply pressure to your lower jaw, taking turns in each direction (side-to-side, up-and-down, and forward on your chin). Perform these exercises in front of a mirror, making sure to keep your teeth exactly aligned the entire time. If a particular direction causes pain, stop. Never push past what’s comfortable.
- TMJ Treatment With Orthodontic Correction
TMD most often affects adults. This may be because our teeth continue to shift as we age, especially after injury or the eruption of wisdom teeth, yet our jaw muscles have a hard time compensating. Some doctors will recommend either removable splints to relieve the pressure on the jaw muscles (mostly at night) or adult braces to realign the teeth and ease the tension placed on the joint.
- TMJ Treatment With Surgery
The vast majority of TMD cases resolve themselves over time, but a very small percentage of sufferers will require surgical procedures to correct an unusually chronic and painful condition. Arthrocentesis is a procedure that uses needles to flush fluid through the joint, in order to remove any debris or irritants that may be exacerbating the inflammation. In extreme and exceedingly rare cases, the entire joint can be replaced.
Talk to your doctor before beginning any exercise or undergoing any procedure to relieve your TMD. A thorough examination can indicate the extent of the disorder, as well as the most productive course of action. Research more like this. More on this topic.