When you suffer from pain associated with TMJ (temporomandibular joint), seeking treatment is often your first step to easing the discomfort. However, many patients are often confused about whether they should seek treatment from a dentist or a chiropractor.
While both professionals can offer remedies and various procedures to manage the symptoms of TMJ disorder, your dentist is the professional who can diagnose the disorder. Additionally, your dentist can offer an effective treatment plan that stems from research-based practices
What is a Chiropractor?
A chiropractor is a health care professional that specializes in the treatment of neuromuscular disorders, specifically those in the neck and spine area.
Chiropractic is an alternative medicine that is often used in place of standard medicine. Standard medicine is what your doctor, dentist, physical therapists, etc. practice. Because alternative medicine does not adhere to strict research-based practices, the result of chiropractic treatment is sometimes unclear.
Additionally, because the TMJ is located in the jaw, a chiropractor’s effect may be limited. Their expertise lies in the alignment of the neck and spine. A spinal alignment may help TMJ pain but is not guaranteed to ease other symptoms.
Your dentist, however, has the diagnostic tools to diagnose the disorder and the experience to determine the cause of the pain and treat it accordingly. At Brad Pitts Family and Cosmetic Dentistry, we offer TMJ analysis. This analysis focuses on identifying symptoms of the disorder. A TMJ analysis can lead to our dentist diagnosing you with the disorder which is the first step to treating TMJ disorder.
What is TMJ Disorder?
TMJ stands for Temporomandibular Joint. This joint is responsible for connecting the lower jaw to the skull. We rely on this joint for actions such as eating, yawning and talking.
TMJ disorder refers to pain that is caused by this joint. Most of the time, the cause of the pain is unknown but can be attributed to many factors including:
- Grinding or clenching teeth at night
- Arthritis in the TMJ
- Trauma to the jaw
There are many symptoms of TMJ disorder, including:
- Pain anywhere near the jaw area (including the neck or shoulders)
- Difficulty opening the mouth
- Jaws getting stuck in the open or closed position
- Swelling in the area
- Discomfort when you bite down
Treating TMJ disorder is the only way to ease the pain. While seeking the help of a chiropractor may have a positive effect, a dentist uses heavily researched medical procedures to treat the symptoms of this disorder. If you think you may be suffering from TMJ disorder, visit us at W. Eric Martin, D.D.S or call us today at (217) 352-7077. Schedule your appointment online.
Photo Credit: Pinterest