The temporomandibular joints (TMJ) are the sliding, hinge-like joints that connect the lower half of your jaw to your skull. These joints are engaged for every action that involves opening and closing the mouth. The TMJs can become damaged due to various things like trauma to the jaw, teeth grinding, a bad bite, or overusing the joints.
Temporomandibular joint disorders (TMD) can make opening and closing your mouth quite the challenge, and they are often accompanied by symptoms like pain, headaches, and inflammation around the joints.
A holistic approach to addressing issues with the temporomandibular joints involves understanding how a person’s jaw, teeth, muscles, throat, nerves, stomach, and gums are all part of a system that supports breathing, speaking, and chewing. It involves providing non-invasive treatments that help prevent issues in the TMJs from causing problems in other parts of the body.
The holistic approach to TMJ treatments
There are many ways to go about addressing issues with the temporomandibular joints. A dentist might attempt to reduce the symptoms of the patient’s condition by providing pain medication, anti-inflammatory drugs, or muscle relaxants.
This approach can effectively alleviate the symptoms of the patient’s condition, but it does not fix the root cause of the patient’s problems. Holistic treatment for temporomandibular joint disorders aims to return the proper alignment of the patient’s TMJs and the muscle around them, eliminating any abnormal stress placed on them.
Some of the holistic treatments that might be recommended to patient’s who are battling TMJ issues include:
1. Oral appliance
Oral appliances can help to reduce the discomfort caused by TMJ issues and to correct the underlying problem. For example, if a bad bite is causing the patient’s TMJ issues, a dentist can fix that with appliances like braces.
Oral appliances can also help reduce the stress placed on the temporomandibular joints due to habits like teeth grinding. Stress management and anxiety treatment can also help to reduce the frequency and intensity of teeth grinding.
Physiotherapy can help to reduce tension in the muscles around the temporomandibular joints and strengthen them. It might involve using hot and cold wraps to reduce pain and inflammation around the TMJs or teaching patients exercises that help to reduce the pressure placed on their TMJs.
3. Lifestyle changes
A dentist can also educate patients about lifestyle changes that help to treat TMJ issues. For example, patients can lower the stress placed on their temporomandibular joints by avoiding hard foods and sticking to a soft diet. Other lifestyle changes that go a long way when dealing with TMJ issues include:
Dealing with sore or inflamed TMJs? Call or visit our Santa Clara clinic to explore treatment options with our dentist.
Request an appointment here: https://www.wellbeingdentistry.com or call Well Being Dentistry at (408) 244-0590 for an appointment in our Santa Clara office.
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