TMJ disorders are among the most prevalent oral-facial problems, affecting millions of people every year. The temporomandibular joint is an essential part of the jaw and the surrounding facial region. And when it becomes irritated or dislocated, it leads to pain and other symptoms.
What Is TMJ Disorder?
TMJ disorder or TMD involves problems with the jaw and the muscles that control jaw movement. These problems can result in pain in your jaw joint as well as difficulty or discomfort when biting, chewing, speaking, or yawning.
TMD affects countless Americans. People suffering from TMD experience symptoms that limit their quality of life.
What Causes Jaw/Facial Pain or TMD?
The condition may be caused by a combination of the following factors:
- Trauma to the jaw or face
- Injury to the TMJ itself
- Poor bite alignment
- Infection in the joints or surrounding tissues
- Arthritis in the jaw joint
- Medications, such as antidepressants, antianxiety medications, seizure medications, etc.
- Alcohol consumption and smoking cigarettes
- Repetitive movements like chewing gum, snorting while laughing or crying, etc.
How to Avoid Jaw/Facial Pain or TMD
Since TMJ disorders can cause snoring, sleep apnea, fatigue, and discomfort, treating them means treating all symptoms. The best way to treat TMJ disorders is with oral appliance therapy worn at night. This will keep the lower jaw in a neutral, relaxed position, preventing clenching and allowing the muscles to relax.
The Role of Myofunctional Therapy in Jaw/Facial PAin or TMJ/D
Myofunctional therapy is a type of therapy for individuals who experience jaw pain (TMJ). This therapy focuses on correcting poor oral habits that contribute to jaw pain. It includes a series of noninvasive, nonsurgical, and reversible procedures that correct the alignment of the muscles of the mouth, face, and jaws.
This therapy is also used to treat a wide range of problems, including severe overbites, underbites, crossbites, open bites, TMJ disorders, and sleep apnea. Myofunctional therapy corrects these problems by training the facial and tongue muscles and aligning the teeth and jaws to their proper positions.
Myofunctional therapy can help alleviate the symptoms of TMJ disorder or jaw pain. Additionally, it can help correct bad oral habits like thumb sucking, nail-biting, and jaw clenching.
What Happens During the First Visit?
During your first visit, we will take X-rays of your jaw and teeth. We will also examine your bite, temporomandibular joints, and muscles of your head and neck.
Myofunctional therapy is most effective when carried out consistently, so plan on coming in twice a week initially. After one or two sessions, we’ll know how often you’ll need to come in.
Who Benefits From Myofunctional Therapy?
Young children, teenagers, and adults of all ages can benefit from myofunctional therapy, though the treatment is especially helpful for those whose jaws or teeth are not developing properly.Please schedule an appointment online or email us at [email protected] to have a consultation with our team, in Portland, OR and we will be happy to help.