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TMJ and Everything You Need to Know: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment, and More

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TMJ and Everything You Need to Know: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment, and More

TMJ can be very painful—so much so, that it can completely change one’s life. Whether your TMJ symptoms have been a sudden onset or have been slowly building throughout your life, it can be difficult to function. Searching for answers can be difficult, but luckily, we have compiled just about everything you need to know about the condition and how to manage it. Keep reading to learn more about TMJ and its causes, symptoms, how it can cause other health issues, and treatment for TMJ so that you can finally be free of pain.

What is TMJ?

According to Cleveland Clinic, TMJ is an acronym that stands for temporomandibular joint. Your temporomandibular joints are located on both sides of your face, just in front of your ears. The TMJs connect your lower jawbone to your skull and assist in movements like chewing and speaking. TMD stands for temporomandibular joint disorder. This refers to any dysfunction of the TMJ. Many people use the terms TMJ and TMD interchangeably.

TMJ dysfunction occurs when the muscles and ligaments around your jaw joints become inflamed or irritated. The condition may be acute or chronic, and the resulting pain may be mild or severe.

TMJ is different for everyone who experiences it. It has many different root causes, pain levels, and treatment methods. It can also worsen over time if left untreated, and lead to other health issues (more on this later). These factors can make it difficult to treat and diagnose unless the individual is ready to get help for their daily pain and get their life back on track.

What Causes TMJ?

There is no single root cause of TMJ—everyone who suffers from TMJ may experience it in a different way and have a different reason for how it began. However, TMJ is largely caused due to damage or injury to the jaw or face for one reason or another.

Other causes of TMJ that may require treatment for TMJ include:

How is TMJ Diagnosed?

Also according to Cleveland Clinic, in most cases, TMJ dysfunction is diagnosed during a dental checkup. Your healthcare provider will:

In addition, radiographs (X-rays) may be taken to view the jaw joints and determine the extent of the damage. These may include:

What are the Symptoms of TMJ?

The symptoms of TMJ can widely vary. It can range from a dull ache in your jaw to a completely debilitating migraine and pain throughout your entire head. It is important to note every symptom you resonate with so that your doctor can come up with the best treatment protocol for you. If you experience one or more of the following symptoms, it is time to seek treatment for TMJ. You do not have to live with TMJ pain any longer, and waiting to get help can cause more harm to your body.

Symptoms of TMJ that may require treatment for TMJ vary and may include:

Is there Treatment for TMJ?

Treatment for TMJ can vary greatly depending on the severity of your TMJ symptoms. They range from simple lifestyle changes to jaw surgery. It is important to meet with your doctor to discuss your overall health, symptoms, pain levels, and lifestyle so that you both can develop a treatment plan that will work for you.

Some of the most common treatments for TMJ include:

Does TMJ Cause Other Health Issues?

In short: Yes, TMJ can cause other health issues if left untreated. In addition to having to live with the debilitating and painful symptoms that TMJ causes, untreated TMJ can cause larger health issues the longer it goes on. Some of these include:

TMJ Help from Gorman Health and Wellness

Dr. Gorman is a part of the breathing wellness movement, which aims to increase awareness and improve treatment for sleep-related airway conditions like sleep apnea. He has partnered with organizations focused on collaborating with dentists to apply the sciences of Craniofacial Epigenetics (the study of cranial modifications caused by gene expression as opposed to genetic code alteration) and Pneumopedics® (the practical application of oral appliance therapy and non-surgical airway remodeling) in the management of sleep apnea.

Together, the application of these sciences allows for underlying causes of airway obstruction to be treated in 98% of cases, resulting in a high success rate among sleep apnea patients. For every sleep apnea case at our practice, Dr. Gorman will gather patient data and determine the patient’s specific needs based on home sleep test results, dental impressions, CT scans, and images. Our state-of-the-art technology, paired with Dr. Gorman’s experience with sleep disorders, allows him to find the most effective treatment plan for each individual’s particular case, yielding improved daytime and nighttime breathing for the patient.

“I have been helping people suffering from Sleep Apnea with a non-invasive, clinically approved treatment method. This method has allowed my patients to sleep with far fewer events per hour allowing them to get rid of their CPAP and BiPAP machines. Imagine not having to use one of those machines, getting back a much greater quality of life along with the benefits of being able to breathe better.” – Dr. Gorman.

For more information on Dr. Gorman, improving your TMJ, and preventing sleep apnea, contact us today.