What is TMJ Disorder?
The joint between the jaw and the temporal bones of the skull, which are situated just below the temple and in front of the ear, is known as the TMJ. Every time you open or close your mouth to breathe, speak, or eat, you move this hinge joint.
Conditions affecting the jaw and the facial muscles are known as temporomandibular joint disorders. If the disorder is severe enough, you might start to experience pain there, and the joint may eventually become immobile.
There are three main types of TMJ disorders:
Types of TMJ Disorder
This pain is known as myofascial pain and involves discomfort or pain in all the muscles that control your jaw’s function. You may feel pain in your shoulders, neck, and jaw muscles.
Joint Derangement Disorders
A small, soft disc is placed between the condyle and the temporal bone to make opening and closing the jaw easy and smooth. During its movements, this disc absorbs shocks to the jaw joint.
Due to a damaged bone or disc dislocation, the inner workings of the jaw become unbalanced or disrupted in joint derangement disorders. The internal derangement of the temporomandibular joint is caused by disc displacement. For the time being, no surgery is available to address this issue.
Joint Degenerative Disorders
Osteoarthritis is the more common name for this condition. Cartilage holds the two bones' rounded ends together in a joint. As a result, the bones can move easily past one another. It also muffles movement-related shocks.
A joint degenerative disorder occurs when cartilage wears away or breaks away. The patient will experience pain, swelling and won’t be able to move the jaw.
Symptoms of TMJ Disorder
No matter which type of TMJ Disorder you have, you’ll likely feel pain in your face, jaw, and around your ears when you open your mouth to talk or eat.
Other symptoms can include:
- Clicking, popping, or grinding sounds when you open your jaw
- Additional pain that moves down into your neck and shoulders
- Headaches, pain in your temples or dizziness
- Facial bruising or swelling
- Problems opening, closing or clenching your jaw
When to see a dentist
If home remedies such as gently massaging your jaw and neck muscles, avoiding stress, chewing gum, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are ineffective, you should consult your dentist.
Before officially diagnosing you with TMJ Disorder and recommending treatment, the dentist will review your dental history, perform a thorough exam of your jaw and bite, and take X-rays to study.
- Dental splints
- TMJ Therapy
- Oral Surgery (for severe cases)
- Physical Therapy
- Prescription medications
With your dentist’s help, your TMJ Disorder can often be managed with a combination of dental care and home remedies.