A Guide to Treating TMJ Disorder

A Guide to Treating TMJ Disorder

Jun 01, 2021

A network of bones and muscles surrounds the oral cavity. Every time you smile, talk, frown, or eat, the muscles and jawbones are used. The jawbones also play a vital role in facial expressions and in digestion too. The teeth are embedded in the jawbone, and the jawbones’ restricted movement can cause significant hindrance in regular activities.

Temporomandibular Joint Disorder

The temporomandibular joint functions like a hinge joint connecting the jawbones to the skull. The TMJ is found on either side of the head, in front of the ears. The temporomandibular joint facilitates the opening and closing of the jaws. Without temporomandibular joint, speaking or eating would not have been possible.

Dysfunction of the temporomandibular joint might lead to pain and discomfort and difficulties in chewing the food, talking, and locking the jaws. The temporomandibular joint is a bi-arthrodial hinge joint that connects the condylar head of the mandible and mandibular fossa of the temporal bone. Pain and inability to move these joints lead to temporomandibular joint disorder, commonly known as TMJ disorder.

The Cause of TMJ Disorder

Although the exact cause of the temporomandibular joint disorder is difficult to determine, it can be due to underlying factors. TMJ specialists are more experienced in deciding TMJ disorder’s reasons—the temporomandibular joint functions like a hinge with a sliding motion. The jawbones’ continuous movement is facilitated by the interaction of the bones with the joints covered with cartilage and separated by shock-absorbing disks.

The temporomandibular joint disorder might be caused due to:

  • Erosion of the disk due to continuous movement.
  • Cartledge of the joint affected by arthritis.
  • Damage of the joint due to impact or trauma.
  • Grinding or clenching of teeth.

Symptoms of Temporomandibular Joint Disorder

The temporomandibular joint disorder is associated with severe pain and discomfort and might last from a short period to years. TMJ disorders might affect either side of your face or both sides. The prominent symptoms include:

  • Pain and tenderness in the face, neck, shoulders, jaws.
  • Pain and uneasiness around the ears while chewing food or while talking.
  • Problems while trying to open the mouth widely.
  • Locked or stuck jaws.
  • Fatigued feeling in the facial cavity.
  • Swelling on either side of the face.
  • Troubled chewing or uncomfortable bite.
  • Toothaches, neck aches, earaches.
  • Dizziness and hearing problems.
  • Upper shoulder pain.

Diagnosis of Temporomandibular Joint Disorder

Prominent symptoms help to diagnose the temporomandibular joint disorder. Tooth decay, sinuses, dental decay, or periodontal diseases guide dentists to look for the temporomandibular joint disorder.

Physical examination is the first step to diagnose TMJ disorder. They would look for tenderness or pain in the jaws and look for pops, clicks, or grating sound on moving the jaws. Dentists also check the position of jaws during bite and closing of the mouth.

The final steps include a full-face x-ray to determine the problem. They might also perform computer tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

TMJ Treatment

Dental TMJ treatments are performed by dental professionals that include medication, bite guards, and physiotherapy. Relaxation techniques and stress management is also known to produce effective results. Modern alternative TMJ treatment procedure also includes physical therapies and acupuncture.

TMJ disorders also respond to home remedies, including ice packs and alternate hot and cold compressions. Other home remedies to treat TMJ disorders are:

  • Eating soft food.
  • Restricting excessive jaw movement.
  • Keeping the teeth slightly apart instead of clenching or grinding them.
  • Physical therapies and relaxation techniques to reduce stress.

The professional treatment for TMJ disorders is:

  • Biofeedback technique to control body’s temperature, blood pressure, breathing frequencies.
  • Using a splint to stabilize the traumatized jawbones. Alternatively, dentists might also prescribe using prosthodontics and mouthguards.
  • Analgesic medicine to reduce pain and inflammation.
  • Medication to relax the muscles to reduce pain and discomfort.

The Dental Clinic

Korean Family Dental is rated as one of New Jersey’s top dentists in 2018 and 2019 by the New Jersey Monthly magazine. We offer free x-rays for all the new patients, and you may book an appointment to avail of the services. We are open after the COVID-19 scare, and the safety of our patients is the top priority. You can expect TMJ disorder treatment with care here.

Book An Appointment

* Asterisk'ed field is a mandatory field to be filled out

Click to listen highlighted text!