You may be suffering from temporomandibular disorders or TMD if you sense popping or clicking noises on the side of your face while chewing. You might experience intermittent pain on your face right in front of the cheeks. This is where you will find the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). Consider yourself lucky if the pain does not spread to the cheek and temple.
Before it becomes difficult to eat and speak because of pain and tightness of the jaw, schedule an appointment with a specialist on temporomandibular joint disorders, such as TMJ & Sleep Therapy Centre of Northern Indiana.
Diagnosis and Treatment of Temporomandibular Disorder
The temporomandibular joint may incur damage from direct trauma or disease. For some people, the problem arises as the consequence of overbite, or other issues with jaw alignment. When there is an imbalance in the joint, the muscles that move the jaw are affected as well. Treatment usually focuses on pain management and muscle relaxation. Sometimes, restoring balance in the joint require bridgework or orthodontic treatment. More severe cases can only be resolved through surgical procedures. Doctors usually offer patients conservative treatment options, and joint surgery is a last resort.
Non-Invasive TMD Treatment Options
Surgical procedures may lead to permanent structural changes. Because surgery permanently alters bone and soft tissue, doctors prefer to exhaust non-invasive treatment options first. A conservative management approach involves lifestyle modifications. If you already experience symptoms of TMD, stop chewing gum, and choose soft foods. If there is pain, then avoid opening the jaw too wide. If you do so, there is a chance the joint will lock in the open-mouth position. You also have to counter the tendency to clench your teeth. This is largely unconscious for many. Make the effort to relax your muscles and your thoughts. Experts associate TMD with stress and anxiety disorders as well.
A doctor will present you with options, encompassing conservative treatment, dental and surgical procedures, and even use of devices such as mouth guards. Ask questions and learn as much as you can about the methods with the most promising results.