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T MJStill Neglected Even If Affects 20 Percent
There was a man who showed up all of a sudden in the office of a dentist in New York and this man claims that he has a chronic headache. A neurologist, a nose and throat specialist, an internist, and an orthopaedic surgeon were the ones whom this man had consulted with but still, he was unsuccessful.
Fortunately, this dentist identified the problem to be TMJ or temporomandibular joint dysfunction, a lower jaw problem which fortunately is treatable. This issue was the same complaints of three women who were misdiagnosed with arthritis for having neck and facial pains, apparent earaches, and illusive sinus pain. The TMJ condition can be referred to as the great imitator for it can bring about a wide array of symptoms and mock a lot of different diseases, which in fact affects 20 percent of the population and is mostly overlooked. A huge number of unconnected symptoms are experienced by victims of TMJ dysfunction. In some, there may be functional problems, an inability to open or close the mouth. Others undergo different kinds of pain such as migraine, sinus, tic douloureux or temporal arteritis or neck and shoulder pain. On a different note, others may feel no pain but will experience dizziness, ear ringing or tinnitus, or subjective hearing loss.
In reality, they become neurotic because of the pain and pain does not cause neurosis. The lower jaw or mandible hinges to the skull just in front of the ear where the temporomandibular joint is located. A simple blow to the head or jaw or from opening the jaw too wide when biting or yawning may result to the joint getting out of adjustment.
People tend to clench or gnash their teeth when under tension which appears to be one of the most common causes. With this, the joint is affected and the muscles and ligaments' equilibrium that control movement in the joint is upset. In experiencing aches, muscles will involuntarily contract or go into spasm. Pain is radiated from small areas of great sensitivity called trigger areas within muscles.
Trigger areas in the TMJ muscle system can produce dull ache or stabbing pain not just around the jaw and the teeth but virtually anywhere in the head and in the neck and shoulders. When mouth is being opened, patients think that jaw pains are relived but it actually worsens in chewing, speaking, and brushing of the teeth because in the process, the jaws are clenched and teeth are grinded.
He assures that tests can be done by any physician or dentist to be able to diagnose TMJ dysfunction. With or without a stethoscope, this can be done by simply listening for any clicking or crepitus noises such as walking on gravel when the jaw is moved. To make things easier, one can detect any spasm by simply feeling the TMJ on each side as well as the muscles.
Not all instances require restoring balance through the use of jaw muscles. To add to the conscious effort that they show in chewing, they may be asked to perform simple exercises. While mouth is opened wide, the tip of the tongue should be placed far back on the roof of the mouth will be the first exercise. Another would be to move the jaw away from the weak side in about how many times to strengthen the muscles.
The key to combat spasm is to apply moist heat for 10 minutes three times a day to both sides of the face and to eat soft foods for a certain period of time. It is a good thing that recently, many hospitals and dental schools have put up special clinics for TMJ dysfunction. And the importance of the TMJ problem is finally beginning to be recognized by a broader segment of the medical and dental professions.