12% of US residents experience TMJ disorder at some point in life. The temporomandibular is a joint that connects your jaws to the skull. It enables mouth movements like yawning, chewing, and talking. If you develop issues that affect the jaw bone’s functionality, you might end up with TMJ disorder.
Unfortunately only 5% to 10% of TMJ disorder patients seek treatment. Those who fail to get treated are at a high risk of developing chronic TMJ disorder.
Some people respond well to some home remedies but, you may need to seek medical assistance in extreme cases. A TMJ dentist understands jaw functions and can thus recommend the right treatment option for your case. The first step to successfully treating the condition is understanding it fully. Read on to learn more on how to fix TMJ.
Causes of TMJ Tooth Pain
TMJ disorder can occur due to a dental or medical problem. People with illnesses like Fibromyalgia have a higher chance of getting this condition. Patients with Rheumatoid arthritis may also suffer from TMJ disorder.
Additionally, dental concerns like Bruxism can cause TMJ tooth pain. If you have had substantial dental work recently, it can cause jaw discomforts, increasing TMJ disorder risk. The condition also occurs due to hormonal factors. As a result, it affects more women than men.
On the other hand, violinists have a higher chance of experiencing TMJ pain. This is because their job involves holding instruments with their jaws which strains the muscles. When stressed, the jaw and facial muscles tend to tighten, increasing your risk of jaw pain. Other causes include:
- Physical injuries on the jaws
- Clenching and grinding teeth
- Teeth or jaw misalignment
TMJ disorder symptoms may vary from one patient to another. But, most people with this condition experience the following symptoms.
The temporomandibular joint contains tendons, muscles, and bones. So, an injury to this area can cause pain and discomfort. In fact 85% of people with TMJ disorder suffer from severe to mild pain. Others experience headaches, pain behind the eyes, face, ears, neck, and shoulders.
Your jaws may also lock in place. Besides, some people experience muscle stiffness that limits movement. It becomes difficult to open your mouth in such a state.
When talking, chewing, or opening your mouth, pay attention to popping, clicking, or gliding noises, that occur alongside pain. Other symptoms of TMJ disorder include:
• Ear ringing, numbness, or buzzing
• Swollen face
• Trouble chewing
• Tired face feeling
How Is TMJ Diagnosed
TMJ’s disorder’s symptoms appear in many other conditions, so visiting a dentist is the only way to ascertain the exact issue. The doctor will diagnose the condition by going through your medical history and conducting comprehensive tests. They will also note down your symptoms. Some tests include observing the jaw’s range of motion and touching the jaw to identify pain points. The doctor will also listen for sounds as you move the jaw. Generally, expect any of the following tests:
You might have to take a blood test to rule out other medical conditions that mimic TMJ’s symptoms.
The doctor can recommend a CT scan to have better details of the bones in the joint.
The healthcare professional may order a magnetic resonance imaging scan of the temporomandibular joint. It helps detect any damage to the joint, jaw bone and rule out other underlying medical conditions.
The dentist may also take a full face X-ray to view the joint, jaw bone, and teeth to spot issues.
TMJ Pain Treatment
Most TMJ disorder symptoms respond well to home remedies. Therefore, you can manage this condition by making some lifestyle changes. Some of the self-care remedies you can use to ease RMJ disorder symptoms include:
- Eat soft food
- Minimize yawning
- Stop singing loudly and chewing gum
- Cut food into small pieces
- Avoid opening your mouth wide
If the symptoms persist, you need to seek medical assistance. Specialists recommend conservative treatment options for this condition. It’s a non-invasive treatment option that protects the face, jaw, or joint tissues. If this option fails to work, the doctor may recommend surgery as a last resort. Here are some TMJ pain treatment options that you may consider:
The doctor will administer medication for TMJ disorder caused by an underlying medical condition to address the issue. Those with osteoarthritis may receive steroid injections to reduce pain and ease the swelling. Depending on your case, you might receive any of the following medication to ease the discomforts:
Your TMJ dentist may prescribe some anti-inflammatory like aspirin to reduce inflammation.
Since TMJ disorder causes some pain, your dentist will prescribe over-the-counter pain relievers. Those experiencing chronic pain will need stronger pain killers like ibuprofen.
Muscle spasms may also cause TMJ disorder. Therefore, the doctor will administer muscle relaxants to relax muscles and ease the pain.
Those struggling with depression will receive lower doses of antidepressants like amitriptyline to manage stress. This drug also helps control sleep problems and Bruxism.
The dentist may also offer therapies alongside medication to help manage the condition and relieve pain symptoms. They include:
Your dentist will teach you various relaxation techniques, and the right stretches to strengthen jaw muscles. Additionally, they may recommend ultrasound treatment for stiff or sore joints. Another remedy is applying moist heat and ice to the temple area.
You might need counseling to learn how to get rid of TMJ disorder. You will discuss various factors that trigger jaw pains and avoid them.
If you struggle with tooth clenching and grinding, you will benefit from wearing a mouthguard. Fitting an oral splint on your teeth will also help put your teeth in the proper position, ease pain and correct your bite.
In extreme TMJ disorder cases, the dentist may recommend surgery. However, you will need to discuss with your doctor to determine the correct procedure for your case. Here are some options you can consider.
This is a minimally invasive procedure that a doctor can use to dislodge a stuck disc, unstick a joint, or get rid of damaged tissues.
If the dentist needs to realign the disc, joint, or remove inflamed tissue, they may recommend an arthroscopy. The procedure involves using a special lessen to see inside the joints.
Those with jaw locking problems may consider a modified condylotomy procedure. It involves increasing joint space to allow movement and ease pain.
If you have tumors around the jaw joint, scarred joints, or other structural problems, the doctor may recommend an open-joint surgery. This is a delicate procedure, and you will need to discuss the pros and cons with your doctor before considering it.
Get Professional Assistance with TMJ Pain
TMJ disorder can affect your functionality. You, therefore, need to have it treated as soon as possible. If you experience any of the symptoms mentioned above, contact West Hollywood Dentist, Dr. Bruce Vafa for a comprehensive examination. Since TMJ disorder has different causes, our team will develop a personalized treatment plan to address your specific case. Get in touch with us to discuss your options.
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