TMJ disorders can be caused by several different things including the following:
- jaw or tooth misalignment
- grinding of the teeth
If you think you may be suffering from TMJ, your first step of action is to have the condition diagnosed. TMJ is diagnosed following a dental examination which includes checking for joint and muscle tenderness, pinpointing difficulty moving, and recognizing jaw clicking or popping. Depending on what your diagnosis reveals, you may be referred to a different dentist or a physician.
TMJ disorders can be treated in several different ways. The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research has put together a recovery plan that starts out with very simple methods of treatment and then moves onto more advanced measures. According to the NIDCR, the less treatment necessary, the better off you truly are. Some of the first steps in treating TMJ include eating softer foods, cutting out chewing gum, not biting your nails, practicing relaxation techniques, and using heat packs to reduce the pain.
Depending on your situation, you may be recommended certain exercises to strengthen the jaw muscles, medications like muscle relaxants, bite guards to keep you from grinding your teeth, and orthodontic treatment.