TMJ disorder and lockjaw are common though vary in intensity and can be caused by many things. While it can be caused by an action as mundane as clenching your teeth, not everyone is educated about it. Thus the risk of developing it becomes higher.
Since it can be caused by a variety of simple circumstances, it would be wise to know at least some basic information about it. Here is a start:
What Is TMJ?
What TMJ stands for the “Temporomandibular Joint” is what connects your jaw to your skull. It is a bone structure that slides during movement. In all essence, it is your jaw joint.
What Is A TMJ disorder?
A TMJ disorder can range from being mildly annoying to very painful and inconvenient. It is when your jaw experiences pain, especially when you try to move it, and in some cases, you are not able to fully open and close your mouth. Sometimes, when you try to do so, you could hear a cracking or popping sound, indicating that the structure is not quite right.
What Can Cause A TMJ Disorder?
TMJ disorders can be caused by a lot of different things, which vary greatly from person to person. It could be caused by arthritis or even inflammation of the muscles in the jaw. It could be caused by a jaw injury or when you grind your teeth too much. Some people are simply born with a jaw structure that suffers from incorrect growth (for example, the bottom mandible grew faster than the upper mandible). To figure out what caused this case, you have to have a checkup taken.
Who Treats TMJ?
This is a little bit difficult, and talking to different dentists could give you different results. You have the option of going to your doctor, your dentist or a TMJ specialist- the latter, of course, is much preferred. However, it would be a good idea to get a general diagnosis from your doctor and know exactly why you have the TMJ disorder. As discussed above, it could be caused by many different things, and the solution will vary.
How Can It Be Cured?
Regardless of who treats TMJ, they would tell you to figure out what caused it first. However, there are easy treatments that do not require a lot of time in the hospital; all of them still recommendations by doctors in their given field. Splints or mouth guards are very common for those who suffer from TMJ disorder, and some have to proceed to have braces installed afterward for more permanent results.
If you have unfortunately developed TMJ disorder, it is no joke, and you should get that checked at immediately. I have had dentists tell me that it is possible to compromise eyesight and hearing, due to the nerve that is close to the joint and is connected to them. There are even people who have problems lifting their shoulders unless they have a splint, due to the nerve. It does not seem so harmful by itself, but do not believe even for a moment that it will simply be an inconvenience and stop there.