What is TMJ? Discover 5 little-known facts about TMJ syndrome and how you can treat it now.
TMJ syndrome is a common issue affecting millions of Americans. In fact, experts estimate that between 10 and 35 million Americans suffer from this condition. Despite its frequency, you may still be asking, “What is TMJ?”
The human mouth is an important part of the body. It is comprised of many parts, including the jaw. If these parts aren’t functioning properly, nutrition and communication can be compromised.
TMJ syndrome can lead to much larger issues if not properly treated. To avoid this, it’s important to consult a medical professional as soon as possible.
If you suspect yourself or someone you love of having TMJ syndrome, check out the facts below.
What Is TMJ Syndrome?
TMJ is an acronym for temporomandibular joint, the joint in the human jaw. This joint connects the jaw to the skull. TMJ syndrome occurs when a patient reports pain in this joint.
The jaw moves like a hinge to open and close the mouth when chewing or talking. It also glides for people to open their mouth wider when yawning.
TMJ syndrome can present itself in many ways. It may involve clicking or popping sounds in the joint, a locked jaw, headaches, neck pain, facial pain, or ear pain.
We Don’t Know the Cause
Unfortunately, healthcare professionals and researchers still don’t know the cause of TMJ syndrome. However, they have some theories about it.
Experts suspect that trauma to the area, other health conditions, aging, and oral health can lead to TMJ syndrome.
It Can Affect Your Ears
It’s surprising to note that many people with TMJ syndrome first suspect that it’s an ear condition. The close proximity of the joint to the ear can be misleading.
The pain caused by the syndrome presents itself in front of the ear. Additionally, TMJ can lead to problems with the ear, including tinnitus.
It’s More Common in Women
There are certain conditions that may increase your chance of developing TMJ syndrome. One of these is being a woman. Doctors aren’t sure why women are diagnosed with TMJ syndrome 5 times more often than men. The reason is likely multifaceted.
It Comes and Goes
TMJ disorder treatments vary by case because it affects people differently. One common thing, however, is that the pain comes and goes.
For people with chronic TMJ syndrome, it may come and go more frequently and last for months or years. For others, it only lasts a few weeks or months.
You Need a Team
Because TMJ syndrome is still not fully understood if often takes a team of professionals to treat the condition. This team can include a dentist, physical therapist, ENT specialist, and general physician.
There are a wide variety of treatment options, including physical therapy, bite guards, medication, and even mental health counseling.
What is TMJ? It’s a question that’s easier asked than answered. Healthcare professionals and researchers are still working to fully understand the condition.
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