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TMJ: Causes, Symptoms & Treatment Options

The TMJ, also known as the temporomandibular joint, is a very intricate joint in our body. Our dentists at Perth-Andover are going to explain three different types of TMJ disorders, including their symptoms and treatment options.

What is TMJ Disorder?

The TMJ is a joint that connects your skull and jaw. It helps you do important things like eating, talking and breathing. When there's a problem with your jaw and facial muscles, it can cause discomfort and pain. In severe cases, you may even have difficulty moving the joint.

Types of TMJ Disorder

There are three main types of TMJ disorders:

Joint Degenerative Disorders

Osteoarthritis is a condition where the cartilage that holds the ends of the bones in your jaw breaks or wears away. Cartilage helps your bones move smoothly and absorb shocks, so when it's gone, you might feel pain and swelling, and have difficulty moving your jaw.

Muscle Disorders

Muscle disorders, also known as myofascial pain, can cause discomfort and pain in the muscles that control your jaw's movement. This pain may also extend to the muscles in your neck and shoulders.

Joint Derangement Disorders

A soft, small disc located between the temporal bone and the condyle makes the opening and closing of the jaw smooth and easy. This disc is also important as it absorbs shocks to the jaw joint that happen during movement.

When an individual has a joint derangement disorder, the inner workings of the jaw are disrupted or unbalanced due to a dislocated disc or damaged bone.

This displaced disc causes internal derangement of the temporomandibular joint. Currently, there is no surgical solution to this problem.

Symptoms of TMJ Disorder

With every type of TMJ Disorder, you’ll likely experience pain in your jaw and face. The area around your ears may hurt, and you’ll feel an ache when you open your mouth to eat or talk.

Other symptoms may include:

  • Facial bruising or swelling
  • Problems opening, closing or clenching your jaw
  • Headaches, dizziness or pain in your temples
  • Grinding, clicking or popping sounds when you open your jaw
  • Additional pain in your neck and/or shoulders

When You Should See a Dentist for TMJ Treatment

If at-home remedies such as avoiding stress, chewing gum, gently massaging your neck and jaw muscles, and trying over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) have not proven effective, you should make a dental appointment.

Your dentist will review your dental history, perform a thorough examination of your bite and jaw, and take x-rays to assess before providing an official diagnosis of TMJ Disorder. The treatment he or she recommends may include:

  • TMJ therapy
  • Physical Therapy
  • Oral Surgery
  • Dental splints
  • Prescription medications

Your dentist can help you manage your TMJ Disorder with a combination of home remedies and attentive dental care.

If you want to learn more about TMJ, our dentists at Perth-Andover Dental are available to answer any questions you may have. Contact us today for more information.

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