November is National TMJ Awareness Month – a time when dentists around the country are working to bring attention to a condition that is often overlooked but can cause serious problems for the jaw and other parts of the body. As you read on, you’ll learn what the TMJ is, what causes its dysfunction and the importance of TMJ treatment in Gramercy Park.
What is the TMJ?
The TMJ (temporomandibular joint) is the hinge-point that allows for the opening and closing of your jaw. Additionally, this dynamic complex moves the jaw from side-to-side, forward-and-back and in an elliptical motion.
Because it can move through so many planes of motion and is used so often, the cartilage that supports the joint can become inflamed, misaligned or it can erode. The name for this condition is TMJ disorder, and over 10 million people suffer from it.
Signs You Have TMJ Disorder
Here are some warning signs of TMJ disorder to be on the lookout for:
- Jaw Pain
- Static Jaw
- Neck Pain
If you notice any of these signs, your dentist says don’t ignore it. Failure to seek treatment could lead to more acute symptoms and even depression.
What are the Causes of TMJ Disorder?
The following factors can contribute to TMJ disorder:
- An improper bite
- A misaligned jaw
- Teeth grinding (bruxism)
- Trauma or injury to the jaw
How TMJ Disorder Can be Treated
Thankfully, your dentist has several ways of addressing TMJ disorder so you can once again have a normally functioning jaw. The specialist can perform a bite adjustment (equilibration), provide orthodontic treatment or perform jaw reconstruction.
For the best results, though, a joint effort is needed that combines professional care with the following at-home healing methods:
- Eating soft foods
- Exercising the jaw
- Practicing good posture
- Alternating between ice and heat applications
- Allowing the jaw to rest by limiting the movement
- Keeping your teeth apart when they’re not being used to eat or swallow
Demonstrate Your New Awareness
One of the primary goals of National TMJ Treatment Awareness Month is to bring to people’s attention the symptoms of TMJ disorder, to reveal what the causes are and to encourage the proactive approach of seeking treatment.
The next step is to contact your dentist in Gramercy Park to receive the care you need. By implementing the above guidelines and working with a trained professional, you can soon enjoy the full function and comfortable feel of a well-working jaw.
About the Author
Dr. Ira Newman earned his dental degree from Emory University School of Dentistry. An avid learner, he has additionally received advanced training from the Dawson Center for Advanced Dentistry and the Spear Center for Clinical Excellence. Along with providing private care to his patients, Dr. Newman is also the co-director of the TMJ/Facial Pain clinic at Northwell Hospital/Manhasset. He helps patients heal their jaws with TMJ treatment at Gramercy Park dental, and he can be reached for more information through his website.