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Facts About TMJ That Will Make Your Jaw Drop

Three out of every 20 people in the United States suffer from pain that seems to have no cause in their face. It can be pain that radiates into the face itself, the cheekbones or the jaw, or it can be pain that causes earaches and headaches.

While it isn’t a surprise to these Americans that they are in pain, the cause certainly can come as a shocker. Our dentists regularly diagnose patients with a condition known as ‘temporomandibular’ dysfunction and it is one of the chief causes for this seemingly unexplained pain.

How Does TMJ Dysfunction Occur?

To understand the facts about TMJ dysfunction, it’s imperative to understand that the jaw is made up of a complex network of bones, discs, ligaments and muscles that all work together to control simple motions like mastication, speech and any other activity where the jaw is required to move.

Temporomandibular joint dysfunction occurs when something goes wrong with the way this system works. Arthritis, an improper bite and jaw dislocation or injury can all be causes for TMJ dysfunction.

As the popularity of braces has increased with children, our dentists are also now seeing ore patients who were patients that were treated using orthodontics with TMJ. This is another point to keep in mind.

When TMJ dysfunction occurs, this network of tissue functions incorrectly. Pain can be felt in or around the ear, in the face or in the form of headaches and neck aches. The most common place for pain to be felt is in the jaw itself, particularly in the form of tenderness of the jaw and its muscles, pain of the jaw that seems prevalent during one time of the day, pain during chewing or yawning or in the form of sensitive teeth.

One cause of TMJ that may be surprising is the fact that it can be caused by stress. More people who work strenuous jobs are likely to suffer from TMJ dysfunction. This can include heavy lifting, construction work and any other kind of hard labor.

Facts About TMJ Treatment

TMJ dysfunction is a condition that a TMJ dentist can treat through relaxation, modification of the pain, reduction of inflammation and realignment of the underlying structure that is reposition for the pain.

It should be noted that irreversible treatments, such as jaw realignment and anything that causes a permanent change to the jaw, should be considered very carefully. These treatments can hurt more than they help, thus a second opinion should always be required from another TMJ dentist before beginning these types of treatment.

Contact our Charlotte dental practice today to learn more about our TMJ services and what will work best for you!

Bringing Children for the First Dental Visit

The fear of dentists among children is virtually ubiquitous, and the reasons vary. Some kids have listened to their friends’ tales, and others build off their own parents’ fear. Instead of making the first appointment with the general dentist an overwhelming and terrifying experience, help to calm your kids’ nerves early on.

Use Children’s Literature
To squash the playground stories of dental exams, pick up some children’s books about positive experiences at the dentists the next time you’re at the library or book store. Perhaps these tales begin with the protagonist fearing the general dentist, but then developing an appreciation for the practice and good oral health after the visit. When children can identify with the main characters, they can also begin building their own self confidence.

Share Your Own Positive Experiences
Even if you haven’t realized it, you may have let it slip that you have your own fears about dental exams, thereby giving your children the wrong impression. Instead of focusing on taking back those negative statements you made, pay attention to sharing positive times at the dentist. You may explain how your childhood dentist helped you to overcome a particular problem you were having, or you may want to share a funny story about a time when you went to the dentist.

Plan a Reward
You want to encourage your children to follow through with healthy habits, so opting for an unhealthy snack after the dentist is not necessarily the best idea. However, after you visit the local dentist office, you could plan to go to the amusement park or pick up a video game that your kids have been begging you for. While you don’t want to teach your children that they receive rewards every time that they go to the dentist, you can at least use this tactic to familiarize them with the process.

Accepting that your children may still have some fear, even after employing these strategies, is important. Learning to work through fear and taking on challenging tasks helps children to develop a greater sense of character and ability to overcome adversity. Help them along the way, but work to shape them into adults who can do these tasks for themselves.

To get started on this path to better oral health for your kids, contact our Charlotte dental practice to  schedule an appointment today!

Kindness is a language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see." — Mark Twain