The Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) is the joint that connects your lower jaw to the skull. The joint is located in front of your ears on both sides of your head. Dentists not only treat your teeth but are also professionally skilled in the anatomy of the jaw and identifying bite disorders. TMJ pain is complicated, and a dentist can assist you in determining the cause of your issue and symptoms that you may not even realize are caused by dysfunctional TMJ.
What is TMJ Disorder?
TMD is the abbreviation for Temporomandibular Joint Disorder. It refers to the problems with your jaw and facial muscles, and ligaments. The discomfort might be minor or severe, depending on whether the illness is acute or persistent.
What Causes TMJ Disorders?
The exact cause of TMJ Disorders is difficult to determine. However, dentists believe that injury to the jaw or the joint itself plays a role in causing TMJ Disorders. Other health conditions that may contribute to causing TMJ are:
- Clenching or grinding of teeth
- Congenital structural jaw problems
- Erosion of the joint
Other factors associated with the development of TMD are:
- Orthodontic braces usage
- An improper posture that strains the neck and face muscles
- Poor diet
- Improper sleeping position
What are the Symptoms of TMD?
Symptoms of TMD may show up on just one or either side of your face. These are:
- Pain in the jaw and surrounding muscles
- Stiffness in the jaw muscles
- Clicking or popping sounds from the TMJ area
- Restricted jaw movement
- Locking of the jaw
- Pain in the neck or face
TMJ Disorder Diagnosis
TMJ disorder can be hard to diagnose. The dentist will begin with a physical examination of your mouth to look for swelling, tenderness, locking or popping sound, etc. The symptoms of TMD are very similar to any other dental condition like decay or gum disease. They will also test your bite and facial muscles. Additionally, an x-ray of your jaw, CT scan, and/or MRI will also be taken to examine the joint and bone tissues and structure.
How is TMD Treated?
Symptoms of TMD can be treated with self-care practices at home. These practices are:
- Eat soft foods
- Use an ice pack to reduce swelling
- Avoid eating chewy foods
- Minimize your jaw movements
- Reduce stress
If home practices do not work, then the dentist may prescribe medications depending on your symptoms, such as medications to treat pain, to relax jaw muscles, reduce swelling, etc. Also, bite guards can be used to prevent teeth grinding, and taking cognitive behavioral therapy to reduce stress can also be advised to treat TMD. Surgery is also an option but in rare cases.
Please reach out to Rota Advanced Dental Care in Colorado Springs, CO, 80923, to have a consultation with our dentist, Dr. Rota. Please call us at (719) 598-1224 or schedule an online consultation, and we’ll guide you further.