As with any medical condition, TMJ is more than just a physical illness, it’s a mental one as well. While your doctor or dentist is great at managing the physical symptoms of TMJ, they might be less capable of helping you to manage the psychological burden.

But that might be where a support group is really useful.

woman clenching her jaw and holding the side of her face

Benefits of a Support Group

A support group is great at helping you manage the psychological dimension of your TMJ. First, it helps you understand that you are not alone. It’s so easy to imagine that you’re the only one going through this harrowing ordeal, and it can be very helpful to talk to others who have experienced similar problems. Support groups allow you to exchange your experiences so that you can better connect symptoms with triggers and get a fuller understanding of your illness.

A support group can also help you understand which are the most effective TMJ treatments and who is the best at performing those treatments. Support groups can help you avoid some that may be damaging before you suffer irreversible effects.

Whatever emotions threaten to overwhelm you after your TMJ diagnosis, a support group can help you talk about your feelings with others who know what you’re going through.

A support group can also help you understand your legal rights and benefits through laws like FMLA , the Americans with Disability Act (ADA), and Social Security.

Unhealthy Support Groups

There’s no doubt that most support groups are healthy and nurturing, but in some cases they can be the exact opposite. You have to be able to recognize when a support group isn’t helping and get out of there.

One thing that can happen in support groups is that the group can get a “party line” about what treatments work and which ones don’t. TMJ is a highly individual condition and what works for some doesn’t work for others. People should be free to try different treatments to discover which ones work for them.

Another problem is that scammers sometimes frequent support groups trying to take advantage of those who are suffering. People should be interested in listening to your treatment, and they should make suggestions, but if anyone is trying to control your treatments, that’s not a healthy environment.

Another unhealthy problem that comes up is when people are wallowing in their sickness and everyone is competing to be the most sick. People should feel free to talk about their illness, but everyone should be interested in getting better — both physically and mentally. If a support group seems to promote illness, then it’s time to get out.

If you are looking for help with TMJ treatment in Columbia, SC, please call (803) 781-9090 for an appointment with a TMJ dentist at Smile Columbia Dentistry.