When a friend of mine recently complained of experiencing agonizing pain in her jaw each time she opens her mouth, I thought I have heard of a similar case from my husband’s office co-worker with whom we had dinner not too long ago. It was during that dinner-meeting when I first heard about the TMJ syndrome (later I would know that TMJ means temporomandibular joints – jaw in layman’s language), what causes it, and how it’s treated. Sensing that the two cases are indeed of the same nature, I advised my friend to see a dentist immediately (that’s what my husband’s co-worker said he did the moment he felt he had the TMJ syndrome); she did.
True enough the dentist consulted by my friend confirmed she had the TMJ syndrome. A further check of her case revealed it was caused by her apparent habitual grinding or gnashing of her teeth. Many people exhibit this teeth-clenching tendency, called bruxism, which they do when they are asleep, or which they mindlessly do even while awake. Apart from its wearing down the teeth, bruxism also causes severe pain in the jaw.
Some people believe that bruxism is caused by stress. (Incidentally, stress is likewise known to have a role in the intensification of the problem caused by the TMJ syndrome.) They, therefore, conclude that the gnashing or clenching of the teeth is a means by which they can vent the anger or frustration inside them. A poor bite is also thought to be another cause of bruxism. This imperfect bite, or improper occlusion, is likewise believed to be one of the direct causes of the TMJ syndrome. In this condition, there is an abnormality in the coming together of the teeth. Specifically, the teeth do not work together as neatly or as exactly as they might.
Dentists usually recommend the use of a bite plate to help in preventing bruxism. This plastic dental aid is made from an impression of the patient’s mouth and is worn over the lower teeth when the patient goes to bed. While this mouthguard may help in breaking the teeth-gnashing habit, it will not be able to deal with its causes successfully.
The troubles associated with the TMJ syndrome are characterized by any, or all, of these symptoms: a sharp pain in the jaw; difficulty opening the mouth (as well as in keeping it open); a clicking sound when moving the jaw; and difficulty masticating. In most cases, too, there can be severe headache, dizziness, and sinus problem.
The TMJ syndrome may have more serious causes, as in the presence of fractures, tumor (either benign or malignant), or cyst. Neurological disorders are likewise possible causes. All these, of course, can be ruled out by X-rays. In treating the pain caused by the TMJ syndrome, dentists usually recommend certain relaxation exercises, massage, heat treatment, and a diet consisting only of soft foods for easy chewing.
It was many years ago when the TMJ syndrome was first studied and researches relating to it were conducted. Still, cases of the disorder appear to be on the rise, affecting men and women almost evenly. The good news is that there is an all natural method that can permanently eliminate your TMJ pain at the soonest possible time.
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