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Temporomandibular Joint - an overview
The temporomandibular (tem-puh-roe-man-DIB-u-lur) joint (TMJ) acts like a sliding hinge, connecting your jawbone to your skull. You have one joint on each side of your jaw.
The exact cause of a person's TMJ disorder is often difficult to determine. Your pain may be due to a combination of factors, such as genetics, arthritis or jaw injury. Some people who have jaw pain also tend to clench or grind their teeth (bruxism), although many people habitually clench or grind their teeth and never develop TMJ disorders.
In most cases, the pain and discomfort associated with TMJ disorders is temporary and can be relieved with self-managed care or nonsurgical treatments. Surgery is typically a last resort after conservative measures have failed, but some people with TMJ disorders may benefit from surgical treatments.
Treatments for TMJ Disorder: Conservative is Key
"Conservative" is the key word when it comes to TMJ treatment. Most treatments for TMJ symptoms are simple and can be done at home, without the need for surgery. The most severe cases may require treatment with splints, mouth guards or other traditional forms of TMD therapy.
Regardless of the treatment prescribed for you, it is important that you follow your dentist's instructions. You should also keep up with routine dental visits so your dentist can regularly monitor your TMJ symptoms.
In addition, the TMJ Association advises patients to keep in mind that there is currently no evidence to suggest that TMJ disorders can be prevented. Therefore, caution is advised regarding any treatment(s) presented as providing this benefit.