TMJ stands for temporal-mandibular joint. Temporal, as in temple area of skull; mandibular as in mandible, or lower jaw; joint as in it’s where the head and jaw meet. Problems in this joint may be caused by a misalignment of the teeth, trauma, or excess muscle tension. Aside from the two bones that meet there, cartilage buffers them and five muscles are involved in the area. If something goes wrong a good deal of trouble can result.
Symptoms and Problems caused by TMJ:
There are many side effects, symptoms and long terms problems that can be caused by TMJ. Below are only a small sampling of common TMJ symptoms. If you feel as though you may be suffering from TMJ or symptoms related to TMJ, contact 3V Dental today!
- Trouble/soreness in opening and closing the mouth
- Clicking or popping of the jaw
- Pain in the jaw muscles
- Soreness in the area, sometimes extending to the face
There are a number of TMJ symptoms that cause a great deal of discomfort. One of the most common is teeth grinding, pain and tenderness in the jaw and in either one or both temporomandibular joints, earache, aching in the face, difficulty chewing and the locking of the jaw that makes it difficult to open or close the mouth.
It is also highly common to experience a clicking or popping sound while opening your mouth to speak or chew. You should see a doctor or dentist if you have a constant ache or tenderness and difficulty in closing or opening your mouth. A quick consultation with one of our dentists and we’ll be able to determine the best type of TMJ treatment for you.
TMJ dental treatments for the condition can include replacing missing teeth, moving teeth, adjusting the bite, filling gaps between teeth, etc. There is no one solution that is right for all cases. Sometimes a plastic mouthpiece is used to prevent clenching or grinding that is contributing to the problem. If untreated and taken to extremes, surgery may be required to repair a badly damaged joint.
TMJ Surgery Options:
While there are many short term, temporary, and ongoing treatment options for TMJ, surgery is often thought of as a last resort option. However, if TMJ surgery is agreed upon by both patient and dentist, there is still a chance that your TMJ symptoms may not be resolved as a result of the surgery.
It’s important that the patient not only understand the risks associated with surgery, but the possible outcomes. Often, your dentisrt may advise counseling or sessions with a psychologist so that the patient fully understands the affects of more invasive surgeries.
Some types of TMJ surgeries include:
Total Joint Replacement
Temporary TMJ Relief
If you suffer from TMJ, TMJ treatment is important and can be highly effective. One of the first treatment options involves the use of over the counter medications like acetaminophen, aspirin, ibuprofen and others.
Muscle relaxants can also be helpful in treating TMJ disorder. It can ease your discomfort and can be used for several days to a few weeks at a time.
Surprisingly, there are other treatments in the form of various therapies that have been effective as well. Sometimes, a dentist will put in an oral splint or mouth guard to help with the patient’s jaw alignment. It isn’t widely understood why this method is beneficial.
Physical therapy can help thanks to specific exercises meant to strengthen and stretch out the jaw muscles. In addition, the use of heat or ice is used and can be effective at minimizing discomfort.
Counseling can even help with TMJ treatment. During sessions, you can learn about certain behaviors that can aggravate your condition and are taught how to avoid them. For instance, you may be grinding your teeth or biting your nails. Once you learn that these habits aggravate your TMJ, you can become more aware of them and work toward stopping the behaviors.