The temporomandibular joint is the joint that connects the jawbone to the bones of your skull. This is the joint that is responsible for the movement of your mouth. Temporomandibular joint disorder is any joint-related disorder of your jaw and the muscles of your face. It can cause extreme pain to the TMJs inhibiting smooth jaw movement and restricting the patient's ability to eat, chew, and talk without pain.
What are the causes of temporomandibular joint disorder?
The cause of the TMJ disorder (or otherwise termed as TMD) is hard to identify and determine, which may lead to its misdiagnosis as the condition exhibits a variety of symptoms. Your TMD may have caused due to a variety of reasons. It could have developed over the years, due to an injury, teeth grinding, damaged cartilage, trauma or accident of the TMJs. Patients who are sufferers of TMD may also tend to clench or grind their teeth.
What are the symptoms of TMD?
The sign and symptoms of TMJ disorder would include:
- Tenderness or pain in the jaws
- Extreme pain in any one of the TMJs or even both
- Experiencing pain in and around the ears
- Difficulty while chewing
- Facial pain
- Hearing a pop-sound while opening or closing the mouth
How is TMD diagnosed?
The diagnosis for TMD would involve an oral examination where the dentist would check the patient's jawbone for pain, tenderness, pop sounds, or grafting sounds. The dentist would also ensure and see whether the patient has a proper functioning jawbone. The patient will also be checked for bite problems, misalignments, or facial tenderness.
To have a closer look at the patient's jaws for TMJ related problems, the dentist would take X-rays. The dentist would also recommend an MRI or a CT. Once your case is diagnosed, the dentist would refer you to an oral and maxillofacial surgeon.
What is the treatment for TMD?
Treatment for TMD can include:
- Medication - The dentist would recommend painkillers and muscle relaxants to relax the jaw bone and the muscles around it. Stress is a common factor behind teeth grinding. Muscle relaxants and anti-anxiety drugs, when consumed in low doses can help reduce or control pain.
- Splints or Night Guards - Splints or night guards are mouthpieces that would fit over your upper and lower teeth. These oral appliances can lessen the effects of clenching or grinding as they'd help place reposition your teeth to a correct position.
To understand more about TMJ and its method of treatment, request an appointment with us. Call our office at (909) 628-8109 or request an appointment online.