TMJ Treatment: All You Need to Know

TMJ Treatment: All You Need to Know

What is TMJ?

TMJ stands for Temporomandibular Joint Disorders. The disorder affects the functioning of the jawbone of a patient. Ideally, the temporomandibular joint acts as the hinge that connects the jawbone to the skull. Each ear has temporal bones of the skull, where the jawbone of the mouth is connected. Every chewing, talking and yawning activity of the mouth is enabled by the temporomandibular joint.

The ability to open your mouth can only happen if the connection between the skull bones and the jaws is intact. When this is not happening as it should, the condition is called the TMD. This disorder is named after the temporomandibular joint, which is why it is sometimes called TMJ. The disorder causes strain and tension on the facial muscles, which is uncomfortable for the patient.

What Causes TMD?

It is difficult to determine the exact cause of TMD for some patients. This is because the pain on the joint can result from a combination of different factors. Technically, a diagnosis and treatment plan in Bayside, NY can help narrow down to the cause of the pain or dysfunction of the joint. Some factors include:

  1. Injury – if you had an injury that hurt your face or mouth, you could encounter TMD.

  2. Genetics – does the disorder run in your genes?

  3. Bruxism – excessive teeth grinding or clenching can put pressure on your jawbone.

  4. Arthritis – of the TMJ

  5. Stress – stress can cause one to exert unnecessary pressure on the face muscles as well can facilitate excessive clenching of the teeth

TMD can be very painful. The pressure around the joint can lead to pain in other areas of your body, especially around the face. When it gets to this point, you must consult a doctor as soon as possible. For some patients, they may not require TMJ treatment in NY because TMJ disorders may go away without any treatment. However, this does not happen all the time. The symptoms can persist and cause great discomfort to the patient.

What Are the Symptoms of TMD?

The pain from TMJ can be temporary and last a few days. Otherwise, severe pain can last many years, especially without proper treatment. The pain can be experienced on one or both sides of your face. Some symptoms to consider include:

  1. Pain in your face area – on either side of your face, you should experience some pain and tension. The pain can be experienced around the ears, the jaw joint area, your chin, neck or shoulders. This pain will be sharp whenever you open your mouth, chew or yawn. In severe cases, you might even experience a headache.

  2. Stuck jaws – sometimes TMD can cause the jaws to remain stuck in the open-mouth position.

  3. Weird sounds in the joint area – when you move your mouth, there shouldn’t be any conspicuous sounds from your jaw. With TMD, there is popping, grating or clicking sounds of the jaw when movement is initiated.

  4. Swelling of the face – inflammation is a response of the body’s immune system. If you do not have a toothache and your cheek is swollen, especially around the front of the ears, call your doctor.

  5. Trouble chewing – the pain that comes with the movement of the jaws will affect your chewing. It will also affect your bite. You may even feel like your upper and lower jaw are not the proper fit for each other.

Treatments for TMD

Treatment for TMD is paramount because of how crucial TMJ is in supporting the core functions of the mouth. The treatment varies depending on the underlying cause of the disorder.

  1. Pain relievers and anti-inflammatories – to help reduce the swelling and the pain

  2. Moist heat or cold packs – to act a hot or cold compress. It will help relieve the pain as well as lower the swelling.

  3. Tricyclic antidepressants – low doses of antidepressants can help calm your body, especially when under stress. Further, they are useful for controlling bruxism as well as relieving pain in the joint.

  4. Muscle relaxants – used to help relax the facial muscles release the pressure. This can alleviate pain and discomfort.

  5. Mouthguards – are necessary to reduce teeth grinding and clenching that could be causing the disorder.

  6. Injections – in some cases, an injection of botulinum toxin type A (Botox) in the jaw muscles can help deal with the pain and dysfunction of the TMJ.