Temporomandibular Joint Disorders Benefit from TMJ Treatment
Are you aware of the one joint in your body that you use a lot but never think about? It is the temporomandibular joint that connects your jawbone to your skull. One joint exists on both sides of your jaw, and if you are affected by TMJ disorders, you can suffer from jaw pain in the joint and the muscles controlling jaw movement.
TMJ disorders can occur because of jaw injury, arthritis, or by using your jaw a lot. It can cause debilitating symptoms causing pain while chewing, locking the jaw joint, leaving you with headaches besides clicking, popping, or grating sounds in the jaw when opening or closing your mouth.
The precise reasons for TMJ disorders are unknown and difficult to determine. A combination of factors, including genetics and bruxism, could be a reason for the discomfort. However, people suffering from the problem of clenching and grinding their teeth may never develop TMJ disorders.
What Can You Do If Affected by TMJ Disorder?
If you encounter any of the symptoms described above or have persistent pain and tenderness in your jaw, it would be helpful to consult a specialist who may recommend the appropriate treatment for the condition. A specialist in TMJ/TMD treatment can discuss the reasons and the treatments available for the problem affecting you.
What Are the Causes of TMJ Disorders?
The TMJ joint combines a hinge action with sliding motions. The parts of the bones interacting with the joint are covered with cartilage and separated by a tiny shock-absorbing disk, which ensures the movement remains smooth. Discomforting TMJ disorders can occur when the disk erodes or shifts out of its proper alignment, arthritis damages the joints cartilage, or the joint suffers an impact that damages it. However, in many cases, the reasons for TMJ disorders are not clear.
Diagnosing TMJ Disorders
For diagnosing TMJ disorders, it would be helpful to consult with the Seattle dentist who listens to and feels your jaw asking you to open and close your mouth. The dentist will be observing the range of motion of your jaw and press on areas around it to identify sites of discomfort and pain. He or she may also recommend dental x-rays, CT scans, and MRI scans to reveal problems with the joints disk and surrounding soft tissue. TMJ arthroscopy is at times used when diagnosing TMJ disorders.
Treatment for TMJ Disorders
Issues with the temporomandibular joint usually disappear by themselves without treatment. However, if your symptoms persist, your dentist may recommend different treatment options combining more than one at the same time.
The dentist may recommend pain relievers and anti-inflammatories for comfort. However, if over-the-counter pain medications are insufficient to relieve the pain, the dentist may prescribe potent pain relievers for a limited time.
Tricyclic antidepressants in low doses are at times prescribed for pain relief, sleeplessness, and for controlling bruxism. The dentist may also recommend muscle relaxants for a few days to relieve the pain caused by TMJ disorders.
Dentists usually recommend occlusal appliances, also known as mouthguards, for treating TMJ disorders, but the precise reasons why these devices are beneficial are not clear. The dentist may also prescribe exercise to strengthen the jaw muscles, and the treatments may include ultrasound, moist ice, or heat.
Surgery is recommended as a last resort when the Conservative methods of treating the issue have failed.
Overcoming TMJ Disorders
People affected by this problem will find it helpful to become aware of their tension-related habits like clenching their jaw or grinding their teeth or chewing pencils. Reducing the frequency of such practices will prove beneficial to decrease the symptoms of TMJ disorders. People can use the following tips to find relief from the problem with their temporomandibular joint.
People should avoid overusing their jaw muscles. They can develop the habit of eating soft foods and steer clear of sticky and chewy foods. It also requires them to avoid chewing gum.
Doctors and dentists recommend stretching and massaging to strengthen their jaw muscles. People may need help from a physical therapist who can guide them to exercise and stretch their jaw muscles and massage the muscles themselves.
Applying warm, moist heat or ice to the side of the face affected by the disorder can help to alleviate the symptoms of TMJ disorders.
People can discuss the issue with their dentist to determine the best course of action for treating the condition without fear because TMJ disorders can be treated successfully by medical professionals.