While being free of braces or clear aligners is a reason to celebrate, that doesn’t mean that your orthodontic treatment is complete. Find out why wearing a retainer is important for achieving the lifelong benefits of a perfect smile.
Your Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ, for short) connects your lower jaw to your skull. Without it, none of us would be able to speak, eat, or open our mouths! In this sense, the TMJ is really an essential part of our anatomy, but sometimes things can go wrong. When they do, you’ll need to see me, Dr Emanuel Mizrahi, at Forest HiIls Orthodontic Associates.
Your TMJ is a bit like a hinge. It allows your lower jaw to move around so that you can talk to people, yawn, eat, and do all of the things that you’d expect. You have one on each side of your face, and each one consists of small muscles, cartilage, and connective tissues that connect to the skull. In so many ways, it’s a really amazing piece of natural engineering, but things can also go wrong.
When the muscles and tissues around the joints become inflamed or damaged, this is what we call TMJ disorder. If you think that TMJ disorders aren’t common, you might be surprised to learn that it’s estimated about 10 million people around the country suffer from it.
So, how do you know if you have it? If you’re experiencing any or all of the following symptoms, don’t hesitate to make an appointment with us:
What happens to cause this condition in the first place? The truth is that some people are just genetically more vulnerable than others to TMJ disorders, but it’s common that an injury to the area, such as the back of the neck, the head, or the jaw itself causes it.
In fact, stress and grinding the teeth are among the most common causes of pain and discomfort in the Temporomandibular Joint. Lots of people grind their teeth at night without even knowing it, and when a person is stressed, it can lead to jaw clenching and excessive grinding, which places extra stress on the muscles and joints in the jaw and can cause TMJ disorder.
If you think that you might have a TMJ disorder and you’re dealing with the pain and discomfort of it every day, it’s important for you to schedule an appointment through our online portal at Forest HiIls Orthodontic Associates so we can discuss it.
The good news is that a number of treatments are available, including medications, steroid injections, ultrasound therapy, and others. What’s important for you to know is that you don’t have to continue to suffer with it.
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