The facts about TMJ in Centerville OH
TMJ is an abbreviation for temporomandibular joint. Your TMJs are the hinges that attach your lower jaw to your skull, while allowing it to move freely – up and down, side to side, and forward.
When they act up they can cause a range of discomforts. That’s temporomandibular joint disorder, or TMD. Headaches, earaches, jaw pain, noises, and loss of jaw mobility are just a few of them. The recurrent and chronic nature of TMD triggers sleeplessness and depression in some sufferers.
If you feel you might have TMD, it is important to have valid information. A good way to reveal the facts is to peel back the myths surrounding this health concern:
- It’s all in your head. Many people who have never had to endure TMD honestly believe that it caused by your imagination; that your pain and symptoms aren’t real. In actuality, sure, it IS in your head – radiating from misalignment of your jaw joints.
- TMJ/TMD is a medical specialty. Neither the American Medical Association nor the American Dental Association recognizes treatment of TMD as a specialty. Maybe that’s why treatment plans have been diverse and quite frustrating for the patient. There’s no clear path to curing TMD, but as the dental community begins to distinguish the relationship of the jaw joint to oral and overall health problems, we make huge strides in effective treatment.
- Strong medications help. Many TMD sufferers begin self-treating with over-the-counter analgesics, and eventually end up on strong pain medications. Those prescriptions only mask symptoms; they do nothing to resolve the cause. Side effects can be far reaching, interfering with performance in school, effectiveness on the job, and relationships.
- Surgery is the only cure. Partial or full joint replacement, removal or repositioning of the cushioning disc, or recontouring of the socket are serious, irreversible surgeries. The success rate is controversial.
Dr. Daniel Cobb and the team at Alex Bell Dental recommend a gentler approach to TMD relief. A night guard, a comfortable oral appliance worn during sleep, helps to reposition your jaw and reduces clenching and grinding. Spinal alignment from a reputable chiropractor keeps your head and neck in proper position for better function and improved comfort. Changing habits that may be contributing to your TMD – sleeping on your stomach, chewing gum, poor posture, or how you cradle a telephone receiver – often helps. Thermal therapy (warm compresses or ice packs) can bring additional relief. We will also talk with you about managing stress in your life through relaxation techniques like Yoga and massage.
Be one of the many Centerville, OH residents taking control of their TMD. Start by knowing the facts, and then call Alex Bell Dental for a consultation.
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