How to Relieve TMJ With Braces
Temporal Mandibular Joint disorder, or TMJ, is a fairly common joint issue. It can be a minor as a small clicking noise when someone opens or closes their mouth, or as serious as causing constant pain or discomfort to the person suffering from this issue. Many people who have this disorder might let it go undiagnosed for years and then, when they are diagnosed, may not take any steps to treat this condition. There are, however, a few simple treatments that can alleviate this disorder and braces is one of them. Here is how to relieve TMJ with braces, one of the most common and often most effective treatments for TMJ.
What is Temporal Mandibular Joint disorder or TMJ?
Temporal Mandibular Joint disorder occurs when the mandibular bone (which is the lower jaw) is out of its proper alignment. This can occur over time, as the ligaments and muscles that hold it is place are stretched or damaged by repetitive motion, or it can happen all at once, through some sort of traumatic event. This joint is designed to move, to allow for talking and chewing, but if it slides too far out of the joint, TMJ occurs.
What causes TMJ?
Little is known about what exactly causes this issue, but there are definitely some behaviors that contribute to it. First of all, grinding your teeth, which puts significant pressure on this joint, can exacerbate an already inflamed joint. Clenching of the teeth will do essentially the same thing. The cushion in the socket joint may simply move out of alignment, which is often the cause of that clicking sound you hear when you open or close your jaw.
Stress in general is a common contributor, and not just because it can cause you to clench your jaw or grind your teeth. It can also cause you to tighten the muscles in your face and jaw, which further puts pressure on your jaw’s joint and causes you problems. Even arthritis can contribute to TMJ.
What are the symptoms of TMJ?
Those who have this disorder most often report discomfort in the jaw joint. This could happen only once in a while or it could be constant. It might be more severe on one side of your face and not as severe on the other side. It is more common in women than it is in men and is most likely to occur in individuals between the ages of twenty and forty.
Other symptoms might include tenderness in the jaw, neck, and shoulders, especially when you chew, open your mouth, or speak. You might not be able to open your mouth very wide, or opening your mouth very wide may hurt. Many people experience a locking sensation, that prevents them from opening or closing their mouth. Clicking, popping, or grating noises when the joint moves are also extremely common, though it might not necessarily be accompanied by pain.
One of the most common symptoms is an uncomfortable bite. You will not feel that your top and bottom jaw fit together well. Not having your jaw fit together well, which contributes to teeth grinding and jaw clenching, can actually cause TMJ, as well as being a symptom of it, which is braces might be an effective treatment or part of an effective treatment for this disorder.
How is TMJ treated?
There are two common, noninvasive treatments for TMJ. The first is a splint or night guard, which holds your teeth apart, preventing them from grinding against one another. Easing the pressure on the temporal mandibular joint will often allow the joint to slide back into place, lessening the effect of the disorder on that joint. A splint is worn all the time, while a night guard will be worn only at night. Talking to your dentist or to your orthodontist can help you know which one will be best for you and your situation.
One of the best treatments for TMJ is actually braces. Because TMJ is often caused by issues with your bit, correcting that bite quickly and effectively is one of the best ways relieve the pain and pressure of TMJ. The alignment of the teeth, not just next to one another but across both jaws, can seriously help your situation if you have been experiencing pain or discomfort in the joint of your jaw. When most people get braces, they are thinking only of how their teeth look and how they are arranged across their own jaw. Most orthodontic treatment actually adjusts how teeth are aligned relative to one another across both of your jaws.
Teeth grinding and jaw clenching are two of the most common issues that are solved by braces, because braces are designed to help get the teeth into better alignment. Even patients whose teeth are relatively straight might still want to get braces to fix the bite problems that are related to TMJ. The treatments used to retain the effects of your orthodontic treatment can also help to keep TMJ at bay.
Whether your pain from TMJ is severe or it is just inconvenient at times, you should consider making an appointment with Dr. Pale, Dr. Gemmi or Dr. Middleberg to make sure that you do have TMJ and braces are the best option for your specific situation. Because the bite and the arrangement of teeth might not always be the cause of this disorder, it is a good idea to ask a professional about whether or not braces as a treatment for TMJ is the right option for you.