TMJ Treatment: How it Might Be Affecting You, And How to Find Relief

TMJ Treatment: How it Might Be Affecting You, And How to Find Relief

Sep 02, 2021

Most people experience pain in the face or the joints, and most of them are not aware of the origin of this pain. The pain on our faces is sometimes related to the temporomandibular joint. TMJ is a joint connecting the lower and upper jawbones. It is made up of ligaments, muscles, discs, and bones that effectively control the movement of jaws either upwards or downwards. So at any moment, the jaw is not working correctly; this can show that you have a temporomandibular joint disorder.

If you are experiencing pain or difficulty moving your jaw, then your joint is not functioning properly. This article will help you understand TMJ and the proper treatment that you will need.

Symptoms of TMJ

Patients dealing with temporomandibular disorder experience the following symptoms:

  • Tenderness or pain in your face or jaws
  • Pain around your ear, neck, or shoulders
  • Dizziness and headaches
  • Toothaches
  • Problems with hearing or ringing in the ears
  • Swelling on your face on the jaw side
  • Pain while biting or chewing
  • Grating or clicking sensation while opening or closing your mouth.
  • Difficulty in closing and opening your mouth

Causes and Risk Factors of TMJ

Medical doctors and scientists do not understand the actual causes of TMJ. But some factors contribute to the dysfunction and the tightness of muscles that characterize TMJ condition. These causes include:

  • Poor posture strains your neck or shoulder muscles
  • Teeth grinding
  • Excessive gum chewing
  • Trauma to your teeth or jaw
  • Erosion of your jaw joint or movement making it improperly aligned.

The risk factors for TMJ disorder are:

  • Anxiety or stress
  • Use of Orthodontic braces
  • Poor diet
  • Some types of arthritis such as osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Lack of sleep
  • Connective tissue diseases which may affect the functioning of the TMJ

Diagnosis of TMJ Disorder

If you have any of the above-mentioned signs of TMJ, it is in your best interest to visit our dentist at Cupertino Family Dental. Your dentist will first diagnose the problem by checking your jaw for any pain or tenderness, and they will also listen for any grating or clicking sounds when you move your jaw. Our dental experts will also check the movement of joints and jaw muscles. Your dentist will also take an x-ray, CT, or MRI scans to help in ruling out any other conditions.

Treatment of TMJ

Many treatment options are available for TMJ. You can take care of TMJ at home, but you have to visit your dentist if it gets severe.

You can alleviate the pain and treat your TMJ disorder at home in the following ways:

  • Eat soft foods. Avoid chewy and foods that require you to take large bites.
  • Practice good posture and avoid placing your hand on your chin.
  • Place cold packs or moist heat on the side of your jaws to help relieve pain.
  • Massage your shoulder and neck muscles.
  • Avoid unnecessary or extreme jaw movements
  • Use mouthguards while sleeping to help to prevent the grinding of your teeth.
  • Learn to relax. By visiting a physical therapist, they can guide you on stress management techniques.
  • Soothing essential oils such as lavender, chamomile, and clary sage that provide temporary relief to the pain.

Medical Treatment

If your symptoms are persistent, then visit your doctor for medical treatment. Our dentist will recommend the following options:

1. TMJ treatment for pain relief through medications such as muscle relaxers or pain relievers

2. Mouthguards or oral splints. These are medical device placed on your teeth which prevent grinding of your upper and lower jaw.

3. Physical therapy. Your dentist may recommend a physical therapist to provide you with massages and stretches that will help you relax and strengthen your muscles.

4. Surgery. Surgery is another treatment option. The most common surgery options available include open joint surgery, modified condylotomy, TMJ arthroscopy, arthrocentesis, and injections at the joint.

Mostly, pain and discomfort associated with TMJ are temporary and often relieved with the doctor’s home care treatment or medications. However, surgery is a last resort after all the options have failed.

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