Symptoms and Treatment for TMJ Syndrome
The TMJ which is also known as the temporomandibular joint is a hinge that connects the jawbone to the skull. You have TMJ one on each side of the jaw. A TMJ disorder can cause pain in the jaw joint and in the muscles, which control the jaw movement. According to the dentistry in Clearwater, FL, the exact cause of the person’s TMJ disorder is often difficult to determine as the pain may be because of several factors such as jaw injury, arthritis, or genetics. The pain can also be because of teeth grinding and jaw clenching but many people may habitually clench and grind but never develop TMJ disorders, explains the dentist near me.
In most cases, the pain is temporary and can be treated with care and nonsurgical treatments. Surgery may be required to be performed but it is the last option when the conservative methods fail.
Symptoms of TMJ Disorder
- Pain and tenderness in the Jaw.
- Aching facial pain.
- Difficulty or pain while chewing.
- Pain in one or both sides of the TMJ joint.
- Locking of the joint making it difficult to open or close your mouth.
- Clicking sound or grating sensation when opening your mouth or chewing.
You need to see the TMJ specialist near me in case you experience persistent pain or tenderness in the jaw or when you can’t open and close the jaw completely. The dentist near you will discuss the possible causes of the treatment and suggest a relevant treatment.
What Causes TMJ?
For knowing the exact cause of the TMJ, still some research needs to be carried out but most scientists have figured out that the symptoms of TMJ begin to appear during the teen years. Some people are at a higher risk of developing TMJ such as people with Osteoporosis or osteopenia, migraines, rheumatological concerns, and other pain like back pain and fibromyalgia.
Stress can also be a cause of TMJ pain. Other reasons may include eating crunchy or chewy foods and cold weather that triggers muscle pain. Also, teeth grinders are often vulnerable to developing TMJ.
Treatment for TMJ
TMJ can be treated with some lifestyle changes and medications and it can be prevented from getting worse by visiting a nearby dentist. However, for people whom the symptoms continue to worsen throughout their life need some type of intervention. The surgical options may be irreversible and may not always prove to be effective. It is better to first try techniques such as:
- Applying Ice pack on the joints.
- Placing a warm compress on the jaws.
- Imbibing techniques for stress reduction in your routine life.
- Wearing night guard if suffering from bruxism.
- OTC medications as prescribed by the dentist.
- OTC topical products as per the dentist’s recommendation.
- Having food items that are easy to chew and soft.
- Avoiding chewy foods as they can aggravate the symptoms.
These are the first-line of treatments that must help patients in most of the cases. However, if they fail to offer any kind of relief, it is better to see a dentist near you for TMJ treatment who can determine the source of pain and then recommend a treatment. If there is a muscle issue, the dentist may opt for muscle relaxants or injections to the muscle at the trigger point.
In severe cases, surgery may be suggested but as mentioned above, its effectiveness is still a matter of question. The surgical method of relieving TMJ symptoms should only be the last resort when other treatments don’t work at all. It is always better to go for reversible treatments. It has been observed that a majority of cases can be treated with reversible techniques.
Tips to Prevent TMJ
- Try to massage your cheeks, temples, and jaw regularly.
- Prevent grinding your teeth with the help of night guards.
- Take smaller bites and chew from both the sides of the mouth.
- Try to manage stress with the help of meditation.
- Try to maintain a good posture.
- While yawning, try to support the lower jaw with your hand.
- Avoid biting on hard objects like pens, pencils, fingernails, cuticles, etc.
- Avoid resting your chin on your hand.