TMJ Disorder is something that an average person may have heard once or twice but not have a full idea of what it is about. TMJ refers to the Temporomandibular Joint, which is present on both sides of our head, in front of the ears. This joint allows us to move our upper and lower jaws, specifically when eating and talking. TMJ Disorder is often abbreviated as TMD or TMJD in the medical field alto not confuse it with the TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint).
What are the Symptoms of TMJ Disorder?
Pain in Jaw and Surrounding Muscles
Symptoms of TMJ Disorder vary depending on the condition, but the most common is a pain in the jaw and the surrounding muscles. Additionally, some patients experience pain in the face or neck area, stiffness in the jaw muscles, locking of the jaw, and sometimes, a clicking or popping sound in the TMJ area when moving the jaw.
Malocclusion or Bite Problems
Malocclusion or misalignment of the upper and lower teeth is also observed in some patients with TMJ Disorder. A dentist often fixes this with braces, removing teeth to correct overcrowding or surgery to reshape the jaw.
It is also important to remember that the mentioned symptoms can appear either on just one side of the jaw or both. If you have these signs, visit https://www.claremontdentalperth.com.au/services/tmj-dysfunction-treatment for your dental services.
What Causes TMJ Disorder?
The exact cause of TMJ Disorder is often not easy to identify as it can range from something present since birth or can just be observed during adulthood.
There are instances where TMJ Disorder is caused by trauma in the jaw, often from accidents.
Health Disorders and Lifestyle Habits
Other factors that may cause TMJ Disorder are arthritis and erosion of the joint. Additionally, poor diet, prolonged stress, not having enough sleep, orthodontic braces, and poor posture that is bad for the face and neck muscles might also contribute to TMJD's worsening.
Defects since Birth
Some patients with TMJ Disorder also have pre-existing structural jaw problems already present since birth. For these cases, sometimes jaw reshaping or reconstruction is the recommended treatment.
High-Stress Level and Anxiety
TMJ Disorder can also be caused by continuous grinding or clenching of the teeth, often a behaviour present in people with stress and anxiety levels.
What is the Treatment for TMJ Disorder?
If you have a strong feeling that you might have a TMJ Disorder, the best thing to do is visit your doctor before the condition, or the pain gets worse.
Home Treatments for TMJ Disorder
For manageable cases, there are home-treatments that you do to lessen the pain from TMJ Disorder, such as using ice cubes to reduce the jaw swelling. Patients can also go for soft foods instead of tough ones.
Doctor Prescribed TMJ Disorder Treatments
After a visit to your doctor, some prescribed treatments are oral painkillers and medications to help reduce swelling and tension in the jaw. Dentists also recommend wearing a mouthguard at night or having stabilization splints to avoid teeth grinding and clenching.Highly unlikely, but in severe cases, doctors might also recommend corrective dental procedures, arthrocentesis (which is the removal of fluid and debris from the joint), and surgery for jaw replacement.
In most cases, TMJ Disorder is manageable with the variations of treatments available. What’s important is that it requires improvement in one’s lifestyle and eating habits. Medications and medical procedures can help also, but this is more recommended in severe cases.