A Dentist can Identify and Treat TMJ

A dentist can diagnose and treat temporomandibular joint disorder. To receive proper treatment, you should recognize the signs and how to be treated. A dentist is almost always taken for granted as a practitioner who extracts teeth and maintains their health. What a lot of people do not know is that this professional can also diagnose and treat temporomandibular joint disorder. TMJ, as it is sometimes called, is a syndrome in which the person experiences some pain or discomfort in the connection between the skull and the mandible. The discomfort can last for several days and even weeks.


There are several causes for this disorder, some of which include, but are not limited to, arthritis, both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid, which can cause some degeneration in the area, thus affecting the temporomandibular joint and its basic function. The bone usually wears down when the individual grows older. Another cause, according to a dentist, is trauma, which encompasses bruxism and habitual grinding and clenching of the teeth and jaw. Bruxism is the unconscious teeth grinding that many children and adults do while they sleep. The different positions that the jaw goes through and the constant movement can affect the joint. Habitual clenching and unconscious grinding of teeth are also culprits of temporomandibular joint disorder. Any abnormal or excessive positions or movements can trigger the pain and discomfort. Another cause of TMJ that can be diagnosed by a dentist is the improper alignment of a person’s bite or the improper application of composite bonding or fillings. Changes in an individual’s structure of the oral cavity can cause the joint to over extend itself.


The dental professional is qualified to treat temporomandibular joint disorder in his patient. Usually the patient complains of pain and discomfort accompanied by migraines, dizziness, popping sounds and a myriad of manifestations that may happen one at a time or together. There are some symptoms that may or may not manifest at all. Medical treatment is usually given to patients who have TMJ syndrome. The treatment consists of therapy such as the application of ice packs for the initial injury and then warm compresses after. Resting the affected area by avoiding solid foods or foods that require heavy chewing also helps but the rest period has to be interspersed with exercises. The dentist will initially instruct the patient the proper way to do the exercises and then recommend the regularity and duration that these need to be done.

There are invasive procedures such as washing out, injections and an operation to help relieve the inflammation or get rid of the swelling. A qualified dentist or doctor should do these. A cleansing solution is used to wash out the temporomandibular joint through the use of an injection. Another needle is inserted into the area to suction out the solution. The procedure actually relieves the pain felt by the patient. Pain relief medication can also be directly injected into the area. Replacement surgery is sometimes recommended but may be an extreme option that does little to help. The operation replaces the joints with implants in order to prevent them from swelling. This is not a highly recommended option which many doctors do not recommend unless necessary.

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