Cosmetic Dentistry and TMJ Disorder

About 5% to 15% of Americans experience temporomandibular joint or TMJ disorder, according to research conducted by the US National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. The study also noted that the disease afflicts more women than men, a trend that is still to be further explored for more accurate explanation. Women aged 30 to 50 years old are at most risk. TMJ disorder is a common condition affecting the jaw area. It is characterized by improper alignment of the jaw. Fortunately, cosmetic dentistry is also covering remedies for this problem.

The condition occurs when the temporomandibular joint is misaligned. TMJ is basically the connecting joint between the lower jaw and the skull. Its main function is to facilitate proper functioning of the jaw. Thus, it is most important when talking and eating, activities when the jaw are working the most. When the TMJ is strain or stressed, TMJ disorder may occur. Aside from over-opening of the jaws, there are several other factors that cause the disorder. These include: jaw thrusting due to speech habits; excessive jaw movements; excessive chewing; nail biting; massive sizes of food eaten; clenching of teeth; tooth grinding while asleep; jaw, shoulder and neck tension; and arthritis.

Everyone could possibly contract or experience TMJ disorder. Thus, it is important to take note of the main symptoms of the condition, which include the following: inability to open the mouth widely; pain when biting or opening the mouth; tension in the lower jaw muscles; pain in the jaw area when yawning or chewing; painful gritting, popping and clicking of the jaw joint; locked jaw; and adjoining headache, facial pain and neck pain.

If you are suffering from TMJ disorder, based on the above-mentioned symptoms, there is a need to consult a neuromuscular dentist at once. Such a dentist is specializing in the realignment of the jaw and in the elimination of problems caused by TMJ disorder. Expect the neuromuscular dentist to initially gather information about your medical history. Prepare to undergo tests and observation to identify problems and symptoms. However, if such a dentist is not to be found, a cosmetic dentist could be a viable alternative. Some cosmetic dentists are generally trained to perform dental surgeries as well. They are easier to find because demand for their services are more common.

There are several treatment options to choose from if you are diagnosed with TMJ disorder. Administration of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs of NSAIDs is on top of the list as they provide complete relief from pain. The dentist could also prescribe tricyclic antidepressants, Cortico steroids, and muscle relaxants, which should be taken in moderation and in care as they could be highly addicting.

There are also some types of devices that are designed to correct improper TMJ conditions. For instance, a bite guard will have to be worn at night when sleeping to effectively curtail unnecessary grinding of the teeth. In some cases, orthotics has been proven to be effective in gradually treating TMJ disorder.

It is worn over the teeth to correct alignment when biting. Many cosmetic dentistry solutions could also be useful in relieving and resolving the condition.

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