TMJ Treatment Helps Treat Temporomandibular Joint Disorders

TMJ Treatment Helps Treat Temporomandibular Joint Disorders

Jul 01, 2021

Are you suffering from pain or tenderness in the jaw and facing challenges when chewing? Chances are, you likely have a temporomandibular joint disorder and may need treatment for TMJ issues. However, you may find it challenging to understand the temporomandibular joint and why it is causing you a problem. This article provides a detailed view of the TMJ joint to give you a comprehensive understanding of the problem you encounter.

The temporomandibular joint connecting your jawbone to your skull functions like a sliding hinge. One joint is present on either side of your jaw. TMJ disorders are a variety of temporomandibular joint disorders causing pain in your jaw joints and muscles controlling jaw movement.

The precise reasons for your TMJ disorder are challenging to determine. The discomfort you experience is a combination of various factors like genetics, jaw injury, or arthritis. Some people with jaw pain also clench and grind their teeth, although many people indulging in this habit never develop TMJ disorders.

In most cases, the pain and discomfort you experience from the TMJ disorder are temporary and relieved by nonsurgical treatments and self-managed care. However, you may need TMJ pain treatment or surgery as a last resort when conservative techniques have failed.

What Are the Symptoms of TMJ Disorders?

TMJ infection symptoms are the following:

  • You may endure pain or tenderness in your jaw.
  • The pain may affect one or both of your temporomandibular joints.
  • You have aching pain around the ears.
  • You experience aching facial pain.
  • You have difficulties or pain when chewing.
  • You experience locking of the jaw joint making it challenging for you to open and close your mouth.

TMJ disorders cause clicking sounds or an offensive sensation when opening your mouth or chewing. However, if you don’t experience any pain or limitation of movement associated with the clicking jaw, you’re likely don’t need TMJ pain treatment.

When Must You Contact a Medical Professional?

You must seek medical attention if you experience persistent pain or tenderness in your jaw. If you cannot open and close your jaw entirely, your doctor, a TMJ specialist, or a dentist can discuss the causes and treatments for the condition affecting you.

What Causes Temporomandibular Joint Disorders?

TMJ causes are various and, in many cases, aren’t clear even with the medical fraternity. The TMJ joint has a hinge action with sliding motions. The parts of the bones interacting with the joint are hidden with cartilage and kept apart by a tiny shock-absorbing disk which generally keeps the movement smooth.

You may experience painful TMJ disorders if:

  • Erosion of the disk or movement out of alignment occurs.
  • Arthritis damages the joint’s cartilage.
  • Impacts or blows damage the joint.

Some of the risk factors making you susceptible to developing TMJ disorders include:

Different types of arthritis like rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis besides jaw injury.

Chronic bruxism or grinding and clenching of the teeth.

Connective tissue diseases of some kinds causing problems and affecting the temporomandibular joint.

Diagnosing Your Condition

Your dentist or doctor examines your jaw and discusses your symptoms. The professionals when likely listen and feel your jaw when opening and closing your mouth and observe the range of motion in the jaw. They may press on the areas around your jaw to locate signs of pain and discomfort.

The medical professionals recommend additional tests if they suspect you have a problem. The other tests include:

  • Dental x-rays to examine your teeth and jaw.
  • CT scans to give comprehensive pictures of the bones connected in the joint.
  • An MRI to reveal problems with the joints disk and surrounding soft tissue.

Sometimes the professionals recommend TMJ arthroscopy when diagnosing a TMJ disorder. TMJ arthroscopy may sound fearsome but is merely a tiny thin tube inserted into the joint space with a camera to view the area for help in determining a diagnosis.

Treatment for TMJ Disorders

In some cases, TMJ disorders disappear by themselves without treatment. However, if you have persistent symptoms, your doctor may recommend various treatment options often combined simultaneously.

Besides pain relievers and anti-inflammatories, tricyclic antidepressants, muscle relaxants, nondrug therapies for TMJ disorders include occlusal appliances, physical therapy, and counseling. Surgery is often considered a last resort. If you are recommended the same, discuss the potential benefits and risks and inquire what your options are before accepting the suggestion.

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