Familiarising Yourself with Temporomandibular Joint Disorder

Posted on: 21 September 2016

Temporomandibular joint disorder, commonly abbreviated as TMJ, is a disorder affecting a significant number of people around the world. This joint disorder will affect the hinge that functions to connect your lower and upper jaw together. This is one of the most complex joints in your body s it is tasked with ensuring the lower jaw can perform an array of movements ranging from side to side, forward as well as backward. In the event that the muscle, tendons, bones or ligaments associated with this joint acquire damage, it is referred to as temporomandibular disorder. Knowing the onset of TMJ can enable you to seek emergency dental care before the problem becomes exacerbated and escalates.

What are the symptoms of TMJ?

TMJ can present itself in a wide array of symptoms. Since some of these symptoms are common with other dental disorders, it can prove difficult trying to diagnose this disorder on your own. This is why it is prudent to seek medical attention, as a dentist would be best placed at determining if it is indeed TMJ, you are suffering from. Generally, a diagnosis will be made by first having your medical history taken. You may then have to take some x-ray examinations so that the doctor can have a better look at the hinge between your jaws. Some of the symptoms that you could look out for that would indicate the onset of TMJ include:

  • Sudden onset of an earache, a headache or the feeling of pressure behind your eyes.
  • A loud popping or clicking noise whenever you try to open and close your mouth
  • Discomfort or severe pain when you have to open your mouth to eat, yawn or even talk.
  • Your jaws keep locking or getting stuck.
  • Pain in your jaw muscles
  • Suddenly developing an overbite or an underbite

What are the treatment options for TMJ?

Overall, there is no single cure that works to eradicate TMJ. Instead, the dentist will provide you with different treatment options in order to ease the symptoms of this disorder. Some of the treatment options that you could consider include:

  • Hot and cold treatments on your jaw. Heat therapy will function to easing the tension in the muscles of your jaw, which will make them relax. The cold therapy will then function to ease the inflammation in your jaw muscles, which will provide you with relief from the pain.
  • Wearing mouth guards at night. TMJ is common in people suffering from bruxism. Your dentist may recommend sleeping with a mouth guard to decrease the chances of further aggravation to the temporomandibular joint.