Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ) is a condition that affects the joints that connect your jaw to your skull. It can cause pain and discomfort in the jaw, face, neck, and other areas of your head. It’s estimated that about ten million Americans have this disorder. If you think you have it, here’s what you need to know.
Symptoms of TMJ
The most common symptom of TMJ is pain or tenderness in the jaw area. This can include pain when opening or closing the mouth, difficulty speaking or chewing, clicking or popping sounds when moving the jaw, limited mobility in the jaw joint, headaches, neck aches, ringing in the ears (tinnitus), dizziness, and vertigo. In some cases, patients may even experience facial swelling on one side. Depending on your symptoms, they can range from mild discomfort to intense pain.
TMJ is a disorder that’s developed over time. Here are some of the most common risk factors:
One of the primary causes of TMJ is arthritis. Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are two forms of arthritis that can both lead to inflammation around the temporomandibular joints. This inflammation can affect your mouth’s ability to open and close properly, resulting in TMJ symptoms such as pain when chewing or speaking.
Stress is another common risk factor for developing TMJ. Stress-related clenching or grinding of teeth (known as bruxism) can strain the temporomandibular joints and muscles, leading to inflammation and pain. If you experience frequent stress, it is essential to learn ways to manage it to avoid developing TMJ symptoms.
Physical injury is another potential cause for developing TMJ. If you have experienced trauma near your jaw areas, such as a blow to the face or a car accident, your temporomandibular joints may become misaligned from their regular positions, leading to pain and difficulty moving the jaw correctly. It’s essential only visit qualified medical professionals if experiencing any facial trauma so that they can accurately assess any long-term damage that may have been done.
Studies have found that people who have lost a tooth through injury or natural causes may be more likely to develop TMJ. This is due to changes in the bone structure of the jaw, which can lead to misalignment of the temporomandibular joints over time.
If you believe you are experiencing TMJ disorder symptoms, it’s essential to see a doctor specializing in this condition for diagnosis and treatment. Your doctor will ask about your medical history and perform a physical examination to determine if there is a problem with your temporomandibular joint (TMJ). X-rays may also be taken to look for abnormalities causing your symptoms. In some cases, MRI scans may also be ordered so doctors can get more detailed images of the affected area. Based on their findings during this evaluation process, they will be able to determine whether you have TMJ disorder or another condition, such as arthritis or an infection that needs treatment.
Once a diagnosis has been made, several treatments are available for those suffering from TMJ disorder. These include lifestyle changes such as eating soft foods instead of hard foods, avoiding extreme movements like wide yawning, and using ice packs to reduce inflammation. However, if this doesn’t work, consider these options:
Several medications can be taken to reduce the pain caused by TMJ, including over-the-counter medicines such as ibuprofen or aspirin. If these do not provide relief, your doctor may prescribe stronger medications such as muscle relaxants or anti-inflammatory drugs. In some cases, a combination of medications may be necessary to achieve optimal results.
Missing teeth can lead to more stress on your jaw. This can then cause TMJ disorder symptoms to worsen. That’s why a robust tooth implant ensures you don’t develop TMJ. These implants are made of titanium, placed into the jawbone, and fused to form a strong foundation for your replacement tooth.
Physical therapy is often recommended for people suffering from TMJ. Physical therapists use techniques such as massage and stretching to help relax the muscles in your jaw and neck and reduce tension in those areas. They may also recommend exercises designed to strengthen your jaw muscles and increase their range of motion.
No matter what type of symptoms you’re experiencing from TMJ disorder—whether it’s mild discomfort or intense pain—it’s essential to visit a doctor who specializes in this condition as soon as possible so they can provide you with an accurate diagnosis and create an effective treatment plan tailored to your specific needs.
With proper care and attention given to managing this condition through lifestyle modifications and various treatments available today, many people can find relief from their painful symptoms while still enjoying life without having them limit their activities too much in any way whatsoever!