What is TMJ?

TMJ stands for temporomandibular joint. It is one of the body’s most intricate and versatile bone joints, with one TMJ on each side of the jaw. When a person chews, swallows, talks, and sings, the TMJ rotates and glides with the muscles of the jaw. Some bone joints, like the patella or kneecap, let parts of the body move in only one direction, bending like a hinge. Other bone joints, like the wrist joint or articulatio radiocarpea, allows for rotation.The TMJ, on the other hand, is capable of several movements, such as rotating, swiveling, bending, and gliding. Unfortunately, despite the versatility of the TMJ, problems may arise. Such problems are called TMJ disorders.

Symptoms of TMJ

If a person is suffering from a TMJ disorder, some of the symptoms that may be experienced are neck aches, headaches, tenderness of the jaw, chronic pain in the area around the ear, discomfort when chewing, and the presence of strange clicking sounds inside the mouth during talking or eating.

Diagnosing TMJ disorders is sometimes difficult. The symptoms are similar to other oral problems, such as periodontal disease or toothache. But when other dental issues have been ruled out, most dentists would suspect a problem in the jaw area, particularly the TMJ. A TMJ disorder is also suspected when a person has suffered from arthritis or endured a facial injury.

TMJ Treatment

Stress is considered a major cause of TMJ disorders. This is why many TMJ treatments are geared towards alleviating stress. Some of these treatment procedures include using a mouth protector that will put a barrier between grinding teeth, performing exercises that will reduce stress, and taking muscle relaxants.

Some treatment procedures will involve a series of non-invasive steps, while others will require surgery. The type of treatment that will be ultimately used for a patient will depend entirely on the nature and extent of the TMJ disorder. This is why dentists will review one’s medical history, ask about sources of stress, and conduct multiple diagnostic tests, such as x-rays and creating a teeth-cast, before recommending an approach to treating the beleaguered TMJ.

TMJ Treatment Results

TMJ disorder is a serious oral issue, as the patient will feel chronic facial pain and have an inability to open one’s jaw and mouth.

Some stress-induced TMJ disorders may disappear without treatment, while some may need intervention. Relieving the pain with the use of medications is temporary and could be habit-forming, and subsequently, it is important to regularly see a dentist or a TMJ specialist.

Once a treatment approach is initiated, the patient will usually feel significant pain relief. As the treatment progresses and comes to a conclusion, the jaw muscles and the TMJ should work smoothly and painlessly.