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Spear education


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The "Temporomandibular Joint," more commonly referred to as the "jaw joint," assists in the basic opening and closing movements of the jaw as well as chewing.  Unfortunately, this joint is a common area for recurring pain.  Problems can include TMJ discomfort; muscle spasms in the head, neck, and jaw; migraines, cluster, or frequent headaches; pain with the teeth, face, or jaw; or anxiety or depression. Although conventional wisdom suggests that "popping" sounds in the jaw indicates a TMJ dysfunction, this is not always true. Many times, your jaw is functioning properly even if a "popping" sound is present when chewing or talking.

People who have an unstable bite, missing teeth, or poorly aligned teeth can have trouble because the muscles work harder to bring the teeth together, which causes strain.

We offer a TMJ exam that evaluates the joint tissue in the "hinge" of the jaw. Possible problems include swelling, deterioration of the joint tissue or damaged joint tissue (which cushions the jaw bones during the opening and closing movement of the mouth). Common pain relievers and cold compresses can provide temporary relief for most cases of TMJ dysfunction.

For more serious cases of TMJ dysfunction, we will recommend alternate treatments. Often, we will suggest using a mouth guard to relieve teeth grinding. In some cases, we will instruct you to use orthodontic appliances or retainers to alleviate discomfort or redirect positioning of the TMJ joint. For the most severe cases of TMJ dysfunction not resolved by conservative methods, we may refer you to a specialist.

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