Your temporomandibular joint, or TMJ, plays an important role in your ability to eat, drink, speak, and more. It’s the “hinge” that attaches your lower jaw to your skull and makes it possible for your mouth to open and close at will. You have two joints — one located just beneath and to the front of each ear. And when something goes wrong with your TMJ, opening and closing your mouth may become painful or impossible. Your dentist in Long Beach, CA, can tell you more about the importance of your temporomandibular joint.
TMJ and TMD
When something negatively impacts your temporomandibular joint, it’s called a temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD). There are many things that can cause this to happen, and different treatments are available as solutions. If you notice the signs of TMD, which may include stiffness in your jaw, pain when you chew, or clicking sounds when you move your jaw, see your dentist right away. This is the professional who can help relieve your discomfort and heal your disorder.
What Are My Treatment Options for TMD?
Depending on what’s causing your pain, your dentist may want to try different treatment options, which include:
- Applying hot and cold compresses
- Taking certain medications like anti-inflammatories or muscle relaxants
- Temporarily changing your diet to soft foods only
- Therapy to break damaging habits, such as nail-biting or teeth-clenching
- Wearing an intraoral appliance, such as a nightguard or splint
Your dental professional will try the least invasive method of treatment first, then treat more aggressively if needed.
How Can I Prevent Future Episodes of TMD?
Often, making simple lifestyle changes is enough to prevent additional problems with your temporomandibular joint. Learning not to rest your chin in your hand, refraining from grinding your teeth, and avoiding foods such as ice, hard candies, nuts, or raw carrots, may be enough to make a difference. Learning to control your stress levels is another effective way to reduce your chances of developing TMD.
For TMD treatment in Long Beach, CA, contact Andy Tang, DDS to schedule an appointment today.