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TMJ Dislocation – What You Should Know

A tooth dislocation of jaw misalignment can arise from either a dental dysfunction or temporomandibular joint disorder. This condition affects your jaw, face, neck and back regions with prevailing symptoms involving sound, pain, and discomfort, as well as limited range of movement in the affected area.

Factors that contribute to the occurrence of this problem include unhealthy habits, physical trauma, inflammation, biological and physical causes.

Although pain occurs intermittently in cycles and does not always signify a serious problem. It can become life-threatening if left untreated.

How Long Does TMJ Last?

TMJ flare-ups are new or existing symptoms of temporomandibular joint dysfunction that arise or worsen over time. These are usually caused by trauma, injury, deterioration from arthritis, and other joint inflammations. They occur intermittently with varying intensity, however, depend on the individual and lasts from some minutes or hours to several days. The time for which a flare-up exists depends on the patient, underlying cause, and previous or current treatment of the prevailing condition.

Flare-ups are often accompanied by some of the following symptoms.

  • Pain in the affected joints
  • Headaches, mostly in form of migraines
  • Jaw tenderness
  • Inability and difficulty locking or moving the jaw
  • Pain and discomfort in the ears
  • Difficulty performing actions like eating, chewing or opening the mouth
  • Grating sensations in affected joints
  • Hearing loss or problems
  • Tinnitus
  • Toothache
  • Diminished jaw mobility

TMJ Pain is also most likely to be triggered to flare up in patients with severe or advanced cases. Factors contributing to flare-ups include:

Stress

High levels of stress are known to aggravate your conditions and also trigger new ones. This is because stress and anxiety can lead to you having unhealthy habits as coping with the situation.

Patients who experience bruxism during stress can worsen their TMJ. This is because jaw gripping and clenching is more prevalent in stressful situations and this not only leads to a flare-up but also teeth and joint injury.

After an appointment

During a dentist appointment, you may be told to carry out simple tasks like wide opening of the jaw. This puts pressure on the already inflamed joint and can exacerbate your symptoms. Speak to your doctor if you always experience this.

Certain types of food

There are certain types of food not advisable for TMJ dysfunction. Food like hard pretzels, candy, sticky, chilled or chewy types place tremendous tension on your temporomandibular joints. These categories of foods are most likely to cause a flare up.

Jaw Injury

Temporomandibular joint disorder is sometimes caused by a blow or physical trauma to the jaw and face areas. Individuals with past experience and no symptoms are likely to have a recurrence when they suffer from an attack or injury to the affected area. When this happens, the body goes through a process almost as if it remembers previous conditions, trying to revert back to old patterns. Although this does not mean you should avoid activities with potential injury, go for treatment immediately if you notice flare-ups.

Can A Massage Relief My TMJ?

There are a variety of treatment methods and self-care practices available to help manage TMJ disorder. Some of which can be performed by yourself or a medical practitioner, depending on the severity of your condition.

One of these processes involved is massage. This is a solution-based method put to use for unique problems. It is very relaxing and helps reduce stress by releasing the knots in painful muscles.

Massage therapy works by targeting trigger points in the body. The parts where you experience these aches and pains are often referred to as knots. Pressure is put on these points to relieve patients of the pain experienced.

The targeted muscle in jaw pain is known as the masseter muscle. It is located on the side of your face and is responsible for chewing. Stress, injury, and teeth grinding can tighten it and contribute to TMJ pain. A corresponding muscle involved in TMD is the temporal muscle; it connects to the jawbone from the upper part of your skull.

Massage techniques are very beneficial because they help relieve pain, increase blood flow to the muscles, and elevate endorphins levels to reduce pain and stress.

There are 3 types of massages involved in TMJ relief, which include:

TMJ Kneading Massage

  • This is done in circular motions to the affected joints and muscles. It is carried out by
  • Locating the masseter muscles, they are found in the lower jaw, just below the cheekbones behind the molar.
  • Massage by gently pressing down with 2 to 3 fingers in a circular motion.
  • Continue on different parts of your jaw

TMJ Friction Massage

This involves applying constant pressure with your index finger on your maniable. This muscle is located in the lower part of the jaw, below the masseter. Keep massaging this area with varying degrees of pressure until you find what works best for you.

TMJ Stretching Massage

  • Stretching massage targets the muscles most responsible for TMJ dysfunction.
  • Place two fingers of each hand on the mandible and masseter muscles
  • Press the fingers toward each other until the tips are directly between the affected muscles.
  • Hold them for a few seconds
  • Continue the process every day.

Massages are usually done by a specialist to avoid complications, however, tension can also be alleviated by performing TMJ therapy yourself. This includes.

  • Positioning yourself in a family portrait and placing a loose fit underneath your jaw.
  • Gently open your mouth and apply light pressure on the affected jaw
  • Count for some minutes, preferably from numbers 1 to 7
  • Relax your jaw and count to 3
  • Repeat the process 3 times

Can A Chiropractor Help With TMJ?

Every part of the body is connected to the other, and a painful tooth, mouth, and jaw can affect how you carry yourself. This is because TMD can lead to stiff and strained joints and muscles in the neck, shoulders, and back region.

Jaws can also cause back pain. It is one of the most common dental sources of muscular pain. A misaligned jaw is usually followed by problems with chewing, sleeping, speech, and breathing.

This then leads to improper positioning of the head, which always has effects on the body. Jaw dysfunction and misalignment may be a problem from birth or a result of injury and accidents.

Sometimes, individuals without jaw disorder can also have mouth problems that lead to muscle pain. Teeth grinding and clenching can affect your neck and face muscles, leading to stress and tension on the temporomandibular joints. When misalignment occurs, your body works extra hard to try to fix the jaw in a proper position.

A chiropractor can realign body position and reduce pain related to current conditions. They are known for their work in helping release extensive tension and physical strain often arising from emotional stress and medical health issues. Chiropractors also specialize in neck and spine dysfunction, making it possible for them to treat TMD.

There are different techniques applied by various chiropractors to achieve desired results. A chiropractor’s treatment focuses not only on ongoing symptoms but also targets the root cause.

It also improves significant problems not related to temporomandibular dysfunction and overall health. However, lifestyle changes and dental intervention still need to be done in order to get a long-lasting desirable result.

Chiropractic TMJ Adjustment

This involves a process that focuses on 3 important muscles affected by temporomandibular joint dysfunction. These are the masseter, temporalis, and pterygoid muscles.

Attention is also placed on the jaw joints themselves, top 2 vertebrae, and suboccipital muscles. These are all areas that affect the jaw joints.

The masseter and temporalis require soft tissue techniques that can be carried out yourself at home. The pterygoid, however, is more complicated and should only be done by a professional chiropractor because the tissues here are not as strong as others.

Are There Acupunctures For TMJ?

Acupuncture offers relief for a variety of ailments, from menstrual cramping to anxiety, back pain to headaches. During this process, the acupuncture specialist inserts needles into various points of your body to trigger its natural healing abilities by stimulating the nervous system, connective tissues and muscles.

An acupuncture specialist usually carries out the process. They can also reduce pain and relieve TMJ by placing sterile needles in acupoints, also known as specific locations in the body.

This experience-based Chinese practice is also being effective in modern-day medicine. It has profound effects on the body, as proper placement of pins can have a tremendous impact and decrease pain and inflammation at the pin site and targeted treatment area. Acupuncture for affected temporomandibular joints helps by:

  • Stimulating pain-fighting response in the body
  • Relieve stress-related factors prompting this condition
  • Repair damages, speed up the healing process and increase joint circulation.
  • It also improves overall wellness.
  • Restore whole body well being

The number of appointments needed for specific individual conditions depends on symptoms, severity, and treatment required. Extremely chronic cases may require close linked appointments, subsequent visits of once a week for a month. Appointments become less frequent with improvement.

Treatment for acupuncture does not hurt, although it may sting at first. Needles are mostly the thickness of a hair strand or less. Patients may feel no sensation or a slight prick that disappears immediately.

This is a very relaxing process that may trigger sleepiness during the procedure. You may even feel a sense of calmness later on.

Just like medications, surgery and every medical treatment have their side effects, acupuncture also comes with some. Although this is a very low risk, the possibility is there and is sometimes unavoidable.

Most common side effects include bruising, bleeding, and minor soreness at the points of insertion. Dizziness may also occur for some patients.

There are other serious consequences, but these are only in rare cases. They are nerve damage, dermatitis, internal bleeding, and hepatitis B.

Acupuncture is not mainly for everyone. There are risk factors involved, as well as certain medical conditions, that may worsen with this process. Patients suffering from bleeding disorders or taking blood thinners are advised to stay away from this procedure.

It is often said that pregnant women are also not eligible for this procedure, but this has been a case of disagreement between different practitioners. Consult your doctor for a proper diagnosis before going for or choosing any treatment.

Can TMJ Cause My Dizziness?

Vertigo or lightheadedness is prevalent in several diseases and illnesses. It is accompanied by sensation of dizziness and a loss of balance. It can also cause confusion, nausea, and feeling as if you are about to fall.

The inner ear is the main reason for dizziness, besides migraine, head injury, a long period of bed rest, and sleeping for a long time.

It is connected to other areas such as the eye and nervous system, which work together to control balance and eye movement, monitor physical position, and the body’s response to gravity. Signals are transmitted to the brain’s center through sensors.

This brain center or vestibular nuclei then notify the eye muscles, arms, and legs on when and how to make adjustments needed for balance and upright position.

A break in transmission or hindrance can affect the signals, causing inaccurately transmitted messages. Adjustments then become inadequate and lead to difficulty with balance.

Associated symptoms include mental disorientation, lightheadedness, feeling as though you are about to fall down, the sensation of objects moving, nausea and vomiting, confusion.

The connection between TMD and dizziness is usually linked to how the jaw and inner ears share a common ligament. Bones responsible for hearing are also connected to the structure of the temporomandibular joints.

TMJ usually triggers stress and strain on affected jaw joints, including ligaments and bones. During this disorder, the ligament is sometimes shifted from its natural position.

The middle ear in charge of maintaining balance then becomes affected too, resulting in misalignment. There are, however, several other cases on how TMJ can trigger dizziness and vice versa.

The temporal bone joins the lower jaw to the head. A dysfunction in the temporomandibular joints can influence this area just enough to shift other components out of position and cause lightheadedness.

Besides vertigo symptoms, other TMJ signs are facial pain, limited jaw movement, neck and shoulder pain, tingling in the fingers, tinnitus, sleep apnea or disturbances, numbness, constant migraines or other types of headache, depression, grating, clicking or popping of jaw joints.

Other causes of dizziness not related to TMJ include:

  • Low blood sugar levels
  • Meniere’s disease
  • Infections
  • Circulation problems

Does A Pillow Help With TMJ?

Sleep is a crucial necessity for every individual. People unable to get proper rest or suffering from one sleep disorder or the other is usually physically, mentally, and emotionally affected. Sleep problems can affect prevailing health issues, trigger new ones, or arise from certain conditions.

Patients experiencing TMD are more likely to have sleep difficulty, worsening over time without proper medications or from wrong sleeping positions. It can be quite tough trying to find a comfortable spot.

The neck, head, shoulder, and face are impacted areas of TMD. These are also parts mostly influenced by sleep problems and patterns. The way you position yourself to sleep, as well as the texture of your bed or pillow, can determine your sleep comfortability.

It is vital to know that sometimes stress is not the only reason you cannot fall asleep or stay asleep. It can also occur from hard bed and pillow surfaces that keep you rolling and turning around trying to find the right posture.

Investing in proper pillows that give neck and head support required in TMD can help ease pain and discomfort and also speed up healing. Prioritizing the pillow suitable to your condition and preference. Discovering sleep positions that don’t overcompensate or strain the head, neck, or facial muscles, promote jaw clenching and grinding can help temporomandibular joint disorders.

It is highly not recommended to sleep on your stomach as there is already the occurrence of improper spine alignment and stress placed on the jaw, which worsens this position and damages the cartilage. It also increases your risk of jaw clenching and teeth grinding.

Laying on your side with a hand under your pillow can also aggravate TMD symptoms by subjecting your jaw to force, creating misalignment for your head and neck. Sleeping on your back is the best position recommended for TMD because it keeps your neck and back properly aligned and straightened out. It also lowers the risk of teeth grinding and jaw clenching.

Other than changing your sleeping position. Here is a list of tips that can help reduce TMJ irritation.

  • Change worn out, too thick or hard pillows
  • Try a different arm position if the current one is always pressed against your arm.
  • Mattress not offering enough support and causing you to toss or turn should be changed
  • Practice relaxation techniques to help relax and relieve the jaw.

How To Cure TMJ Permanently

TMJ is a curable condition with several treatment options available. This, however, depends on the individual, onset and duration of the disorder, and severity of symptoms. Patients do not always need aggressive forms of treatment. There are reversible conservative treatment methods that do not involve surgery or invade facial, jaw, and joint tissues. It does not cause damages or permanent changes in the structure and position of the teeth and jaw.

Conservative Treatment

This is a short-term process that involves the use of prescribed medications, anti-inflammatory drugs, devices like stabilization splints, and bite guards. This method is mainly temporary because the most common TMJ are short-lived and require simple treatment to relieve discomfort.

Irreversible Treatment

A more complicated and controversial option, it is not always recommended since it comes with risks. This process involves surgery and surgical replacement of jaw joints with artificial implants that may cause severe pain, bleeding, and permanent damage to the jaw, its structure, and surrounding areas. Some implant devices may malfunction or break apart in the jaw over time.

Home Remedies

This is a simple lifestyle choice that includes discarding unhealthy habits like grinding and clenching or any activity that puts strain or pressure on your jaw joints. Avoid eating chewy or hard foods that aggravate your condition. It helps manage TMJ dysfunction and heals over time.

Jaw Exercises

Jaw exercises provide relief to inflamed jaw joints. Necessary exercises are recommended by your doctor. They are usually simple, smooth, easy to do, and incorporated into your daily routine.

Examples of jaw exercises are:

  • Relax your jaw by gently placing your tongue on top of your mouth, just behind your upper front teeth.
  • Open and close your mouth, slowly touching the roof of your mouth with your tongue
  • Keep your chest and shoulders back, while tucking your chin in. Hold for 5 to 10 seconds and repeat 10 times

Relax Facial Muscles

Deep and slow breathing exercises are often employed to relax facial muscles. To get relief from pain, you need to keep your teeth separate and lips relaxed.

Moist, Hot, or Cold Compress

Use moist or warm heat to ease pain and cold compress to numb affected areas and reduce pain. This induces temporary relief and releases stiffness or rigidity of the affected area.

Self-care practices that help are:

  • Eating more soft foods
  • Avoid extreme jaw movements like gum chewing, loud singing, and wide yawning.
  • Practice techniques to relax and reduce stress
  • Apply an ice pack to the affected parts.
  • Gently massage inflamed joints to increase jaw movement

Conclusion

TMJ is becoming more prevalent nowadays, with a spike of aggravated cases. This condition can lead to a dislocation or worse issues if it is not properly taken care of. It is often overlooked and mistaken for a dental dysfunction with patients seeking toothache treatment rather than a proper diagnosis and procedure.

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