Written by Amy Pusey (last updated April 29, 2009)
Do you constantly grind your teeth in your sleep? What about hearing excessive clicking every time you chew your food? If you answered yes to either of these questions, you may want to consider getting an examination by a dentist qualified in Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Dysfunctions because these are two symptoms associated with TMJ Arthritis.
TMJ Arthritis is a condition that falls within the scope of TMJ Dysfunctions. It typically occurs following a trauma to the joint, and results in uncomfortable inflammation. Specifically, the jaw joint can only handle so much stress and when your body reaches its threshold it responds by triggering the arthritis. Trauma to the lower jaw joint can be caused by: a problem with the structure of the jaw, inclusive of an off-bite; excessive forces on the joint, like teeth grinding or clenching; pre-existing systemic disorders, such as Rheumatoid Arthritis. The constant stress on the jaw joint eventually wears down the protective cartilage, and progresses to bone damage when left untreated.
Let us look at a brief summary of common symptoms indicating the possible presence of TMJ Arthritis, which may include:
Believe it or not, there is a home test! You can perform this simple test to determine if you need to visit your dentist. Keep in mind, inflamed areas are usually sources of tenderness. So, here its:
When a determination has been made that TMJ Arthritis is present, the dentist will further identify the root cause in order to effectively treat it. These treatments may be one of the following:
It is only in the most severe cases that a dental professional may indicate that surgery is required to resolve the problem.
The best tip I can provide is, if you are experiencing any of these symptoms and are in discomfort, go get help from your dentist and you will be able to enjoy each day pain-free.
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