TMJ is an acronym for Temporomandibular Joint. This joint is located in the facial region of the body. The joint connects the lower jaw of the face to the skull and is responsible for movements like talking and chewing. Hence, this is an essential joint in the body as it assists in the necessary motions of the jaw.
Temporomandibular joint diseases are medical conditions that affect the jaw joint and its encompassing ligaments and muscles. Various reasons could cause this medical condition, such as arthritis, wear and tear, and trauma to the joint. Pain, headaches, and tenderness usually accompany TMJ in the jaw.
Depending on whether the condition is acute or chronic, the level of pain experienced by the individual might vary. Things that could cause TMJ include stress, injury, dislocation of the jaw, trauma, and grinding the teeth together.TMJ is more commonly seen in women than men and affects people in their youthful stages (ages 20 to 40).
The symptoms of TMJ include pain in the ear, headaches, locked jaws, difficulty chewing, jaw pains, popping sound when opening the mouth, toothaches, and swelling on the sides of the face. If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, it is advisable to visit a dentist for better diagnosis and treatment.
To diagnose TMJ, one must visit a dentist for a proper checkup. There are various things the dentist will observe during the observation process. These procedures include:
- Face and jaw press to determine areas of discomfort.
- Feeling the jaw joint area while opening and closing the mouth.
- Observing the level to which the mouth can be opened.
In some cases, the dentist might perform an X-Ray scan to diagnose the condition further and determine the extent of damage to the temporomandibular joints. A specialist might also be referred to the patient in situations where special care is needed to treat the patient. Surgery might be required for the correction of temporomandibular joint disorders sometimes.
Treatment of TMJ may vary depending on the severity of the condition. Most times, TMJ treatment only requires conservative methods and might not require surgical procedures. These conservative treatments include cold or hot pack applications. This can be done easily by placing an ice pack or hot substance on the affected area for a couple of minutes.
Medications can also be prescribed to TMJ patients to help relieve their pain and swelling in the affected area. Pain relievers, anti-anxiety pills, and muscle relaxants are examples of drugs that might be recommended. The dentist might also advise TMJ patients to avoid hard food substances and stick to only soft foods. This will help them protect the joint until recovery.
Other treatments like ultrasounds and radio wave therapy can also be employed to treat TMJ disorders. Surgery is usually not recommended until all other treatment methods prove ineffective. There are three types of TMJ surgery. They are arthrocentesis, arthroscopy, and open-joint surgery. Different surgical techniques can be applied depending on the severity of the disorder.
TMJ is a disorder that affects the joint connecting the lower jaw in the face and the skull, a joint that aids in talking and chewing movements. TMJ can get very uncomfortable, depending on the severity level. TMJ can be repaired through conservative methods or surgical operations. If you think you may have TMJ, call Jamestowne Dental today to discuss diagnosis and treatment.