Thursday, July 9, 2009

Dr. Judith Okun Explains TMJ

So what exactly is TMJ?

"TMJ" is used to refer to problems associated with the jaw joint.
TMJ disorders are more common than you may realize in the United States. The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates that between 5 and 15 percent of people experience pain associated with TMJ. The initials TMJ actually stand for the TemporoMandibular Joint, which is where your lower jawbone and your skull connect. You have one joint on each side of your face, and you can experience pain in one without it being present in the other.

What are the symptoms of TMJ?

Signs to watch out for are pain and discomfort in your jaw. Sometimes the pain spreads and you can feel it around your ears and throughout your face. You will probably experience difficulty chewing and swallowing. Oftentimes the joint will lock causing difficulties opening or closing your mouth. The joint can also make a clicking noise when you move your mouth. Left untreated, TMJ can also cause headaches, difficulties making facial expressions, and even make it painful to apply cosmetics to your face.

What causes TMJ?

The TMJ is one of the most complicated joints in your body because it moves up and down as well as side to side. TMJ problems usually involve a genetic predisposition which can be exacerbated by jaw clenching, teeth grinding, arthritis, or some kind of trauma to the joint.

How do you treat TMJ?

At Okun Orthodontics, we start out by analyzing your symptoms and history to fully understand your condition and the potential causes. We will examine the joint and your range of motion to properly diagnose your condition. If you have TMJ, you are in good hands as we are equipped with the latest in technology at Okun Orthodontics. We can not only work with you to alleviate the causes of TMJ, but we can help you to minimize the stresses to the joint by fabricating a custom dental guard for you to wear on your teeth at night. Also, we often can eliminate the pain with electric stimulation in our office. This is the same technology used in sport’s medicine that enables athletes to have less pain and heal quickly.

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