What are TMJ Disorders? Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment
The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) joins your mandible (lower jaw) with your skull. The joint is located in front of your ears on both sides of your head. It helps you to speak and eat by allowing your jaw to open and close.
The abbreviation “TMJ” has also been used to refer to a collection of jaw-related medical problems. Hope this answers your question, “What is TMJ?”.
What are TMJ Disorders?
It is a type of temporomandibular disorder, also known as TMD, that causes pain in the joints of the jaw and the muscles controlling the jaw moment.
It is hard to find the main reason for TMJ disorders. Some adverse health conditions indicate TMJ disorders in the joint of the jaw.
The following are the most common TMJ Disorder Symptoms –
- Arthritis – It is a condition in which one or more joints enlarge and become tender. Joint pain and stiffness are the most common symptoms of arthritis, which normally worsen with age. Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are the two most frequent kinds of arthritis.
- Erosion (wearing away) of the joint – Localised bone loss (osteolysis) involving cortical bone and disruption of the natural barrier between extraskeletal tissue and the intertrabecular spaces of the bone marrow cavity is referred to as articular bone erosion.
- Growth disorders – There are some disorders like an underlying health problem, such as a lack of growth hormone, and some growth issues are inherited. Others are brought on by a hormone imbalance or poor food absorption.
- Grinding or clenching of the teeth – Grinding, also known as bruxism, is a condition in which the jaw is moved while the teeth are clenched together. Clenching is nothing more than clenching your teeth and squeezing your jaw muscles.
- Structural jaw issues – This issue may be present from birth and may be a big reason cause for TMD.
- Stress– Stress can lead you to clench your teeth or tighten your cheek and jaw muscles.
TMJ Disorder Diagnosis
For TMJ disorder diagnosis and its solutions, the dentist or doctor will have to figure out some of your health conditions, or a complete physical may also be conducted.
Your dentist will examine your jaw by –
- Examining your jaw’s range of motion.
- By feeling your jaw’s movement when you open and close the mouth.
- Identifying the site of discomfort by pressing the surrounding area of the jaw.
- They will ask you various questions about your teeth and jaw conditions.
If your dentist suspects a problem, then you will have to go for some tests –
X-Ray – It will be helpful to examine your teeth and jaw.
CBCT Scan – It is a 3d x-ray that helps to give a perfect picture of teeth, jaw joints, and spine to diagnose your TMJ.
Electromyography (EMG) – The test is to identify the activities of your head and neck muscles.
Joint Vibration Analysis – Sonography or Joint Vibration Analysis test will help to listen to the joints, giving a greater insight into what is happening to the joints of the jaw.
K7 Jaw Tracking – When your jaw moves, the K7 Jaw tracking will help to show the jaw’s path. It will also help to identify the best muscle positioning.
TMJ Disorder Treatment
If the TMJ disorders are worst, your dentist will recommend a variety of TMJ disorder treatment options to choose the best one per your health condition.
- Ahr-throe-sen-TEE-sis is a procedure in which small needles are inserted into the jaw’s joints to remove inflammatory byproducts and debris.
- Pain associated with TMJ disorder can be avoided by injecting botulinum toxin type A.
- To treat TMJ disorders, sometimes arthroscopic surgery is used. It is a substitute for open joint surgery in which a cannula is placed into the space between joints, after which an arthroscope is inserted. There is a rare chance of risk with this surgery compared to open joint surgery.
- If the patient experiences pain and locking, a modified condylotomy is used to treat it.
- Your dentist may also suggest an Open-Joint Surgery if there is a structural problem in the joint. The surgery will help to repair the joints. Before going for this surgery, patients are advised to check its pros and cons as it involves some risks as compared to other treatments.
- To get remedy the TMJ disorders, medication is one of the finest ways. Some drugs like naproxen or ibuprofen can also help you relieve swelling and muscle pain.
- Apply an ice pack to the area where you are feeling pain. It would help if you did some jaw stretches while applying the ice pack. Do this process for 10 minutes, and then use a warm towel on your face for 5 minutes. For best results, perform this task every day.
- You should only eat soft foods like cooked fruits, mashed potatoes, soup, scrambled eggs, fish, etc. Try to avoid hard and crunchy foods.
TMJ is quite common, and dentists often encounter these cases every day. Patients with TMJ disorders should consult with the dentist as soon as possible as it may lead to extreme pain in their jaw joints. The professionals recommend the best conservative and reversible management treatment strategies for you.
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