Where Does Temporomandibular Joint Disorder Come From?
The joints that connect the lower jaw to the skull, referred to as the temporomandibular joint, or TMJ, are considered to be the most complicated in the body. This is because they have duel duties. They must both hinge, allowing the jaw to fall open, and slide, in order to move the jaw forward. This allows us to speak, eat, yawn, and laugh out loud. Unfortunately, these jaw joints can become damaged or infected, making these everyday acts more difficult to do.
This is caused by the cartilage disks in a jaw joint wearing and even possibly shifting out of the correct spot. This can cause the nerves in the area to become more sensitive, which naturally results in often severe pain to the jaw, head, and/or neck. Furthermore, the joint itself can then become inflamed, which adds even more pain and discomfort. It is suspected that over ten million Americans suffer from this disorder. But why does this order occur?
Common causes of temporomandibular joint disorder include:
• Opening the mouth too wide
• Repetitive motions of the mouth, such as chewing or speaking
• Habitually grinding or clenching the teeth, or bruxism
• Misalignment of the teeth
• Injury, such as whiplash or extreme force
Patients suffering from TMJ disorder will be happy to know that there are many different treatments for this issue. At-home remedies include gentle stretching, relaxation techniques, and reducing sources of stress. A TMJ specialist in Los Angeles can also recommend a mouth guard or splints to keep the jaw in place. In severe cases, surgery may be required.
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