Your temporomandibular joints—located on either side of your head—allow your jaw to move, giving you the ability to chew, speak, and yawn. However, when these joints become irritated or even inflamed, temporomandibular joint disorders can result.
Often referred to simply as TMJ, these disorders can cause annoying clicking and popping sounds when the jaw is in motion, jaw aches, and even chronic pain. But does TMJ have to be treated to get better? Here’s what you should know.
Depends on What’s Causing Your Symptoms
TMJ disorders can be caused by different factors. Depending on what’s causing your symptoms, you may only require minimal treatment . While it’s rare that no treatment is needed at all, ignoring TMJ can often make your symptoms worse.
Your symptoms can be caused by overuse of the joint, such as chewing gum excessively, having a misaligned bite, or even arthritis in the joint. Until you determine the root cause of the issue with an oral healthcare professional, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to successfully treat the problem.
Minimally Invasive Care Techniques Can Help
Surgery is rarely needed for TMJ symptoms, and most people can resolve their discomfort at home with the guidance of a dentist . Your dentist may recommend medications, physical therapy, lifestyle changes, or pursuing further diagnostics if necessary to identify problems with the joints.
TMJ symptoms can also be related to other oral health conditions such as teeth grinding. If your dentist suspects you have an underlying issue that’s placing stress on your temporomandibular joints, they’ll work with you to fully address the problem and help relieve your discomfort.
Ignoring TMJ Can Make It Worse
Although TMJ symptoms can resolve on their own, many people end up dealing with chronic TMJ problems. Once the joint becomes aggravated, it can be difficult to resolve any inflammation or discomfort, especially since the jaw is in use throughout the day .
Ignoring TMJ can lead to more discomfort over time, even if your symptoms are intermittent. Since many TMJ issues can be resolved with home care techniques, it’s always worth it to get the problem evaluated by a professional!
Are You Experiencing TMJ Symptoms?
If you’re experiencing symptoms of TMJ, don’t let the problem go unaddressed. There are minimally-invasive care techniques that can help reduce your pain. Schedule an appointment with your dentist to see what you can do today to help improve your TMJ and start feeling better!