As adults age, they need to plan ahead for a host of different opportunities, risks, and eventualities. From estate planning to financial planning, being proactive can help older adults to live their best lives during their Golden Years.
With that said, not every older adult embraces the opportunity to be proactive in ways that may serve them well later on. For example, far too many adults put off the need to seek medical attention for a variety of reasons. Such delays can lead to development of preventable conditions and exacerbation or progression of preexisting underlying issues.
As a result of the negative consequences that often result from delaying care, it is critically important that older adults tend to their medical needs in a proactive fashion. For example, seeking the guidance of a TMJ specialist is important if one has either been diagnosed with this condition or one is developing symptoms commonly associated with a TMJ disorder.
What Exactly Is TMJ?
TMJ is shorthand for both a part of the body and for disorders that affect this part of the body. As an experienced TMJ treatment specialist can explain in greater detail, there are two temporomandibular joints that attach the jawbone to the skull. TMJ disorders affect one or both of these joints and/or the muscles that surround them and allow the jaw to move.
When patients are affected by TMJ disorders, they often experience pain at the jaw site, headaches, limited range of motion in the jaw, difficulty chewing, and a locking of the jaw which can make it very difficult to open and close. As a result of these challenges, many TMJ patients lose weight because eating is simply too challenging a task to navigate any more often than is absolutely necessary.
Why Is Seeking Treatment Important?
TMJ is the kind of condition that tends to get worse over time if it isn’t managed effectively. Due to the significant challenges that TMJ disorders can inspire if they become serious or severe, it’s important to prioritize seeking the care you need for this condition. Otherwise, pain, weight loss, etc. can impact your independence and your quality of life overall.
You may be fortunate enough to have a medical care team that you trust, including a general practitioner or internist and a dentist who have known you for years. If your care team does not specialize in TMJ treatment, however, it’s important to ask them which TMJ specialist they’d recommend that you see. You can’t afford to entrust the treatment of such a complex and variable condition to anyone other than a specialist.
Additionally, you’ll want to consider whether you can make any lifestyle changes that could help to supplement any treatments recommended by a specialist. For example, taking care to become very calm before bed could mitigate clenching and teeth grinding as you sleep. Eliminating inflammatory foods from your diet could improve your pain level, etc. You may have more control over this condition than you’ve initially been led to believe.