A disorder in the TMJ, or temporomandibular joint, generally refers to the loss of functionality of the hinge that connects the lower jaw with the skull. If you look at this hinge, you will find out that it is one of the most complex joints of the body. It supports all movements of the lower jaw when we eat or speak. The structure supporting this joint consists of ligaments, muscles, discs, and bones, forming a complex system. Any problem in this system results in the TMJ disorder.
Symptoms of TMJ disorder
There are many signs and symptoms of TMJ disorder. In some cases, however, it may not be easy to figure out whether or not you have this disorder. That’s when it becomes crucial to visit the dentist for a proper diagnosis. The dentist may check the medical and dental history and conduct a clinical test to determine the problem.
The most common TMJ disorders may include the following.
- Pain in ears and head, and pressure behind the eyes
- A sound of clicking or popping when you open or close your mouth
- Pain on yawning or opening your mouth
- Jaws that feel locked
- Tenderness in the muscles of jaws
- A change in the way lower and upper teeth fit together
How to treat TMJ disorder
There are different treatment options available for TMJ disorder. Each option is suitable for a particular type of TMJ disorder. Your dentist will tell you about the treatment that may be beneficial for you. Here are the possible treatments for TMJ disorders.
- If TMD is due to spasms, your dentist may want to apply moist heat to relax the muscles. The use of muscle relaxants and over-the-counter pain killers may also be beneficial.
- If your TMJ is due to teeth clenching or grinding, you may want to manage your stress to avoid grinding your teeth. Many people clench their teeth during sleep. The best way to deal with such a situation is to use a nightguard, which is a transparent mouth guard. It will help prevent your upper and lower teeth from coming in contact with each other.
- It will be beneficial to learn about relaxation techniques to control tension in your jaw. You can learn it through counseling.
- If nothing above works, you may want to undergo jaw joint surgery.
Prevention is better than cure. The most common underlying reason for TMD is stress, which causes a person to clench or grind teeth. If you remain stressed during any part of the day, you may want to control it, because it is not just about your teeth and jaw joints. Stress can cause damage to other body systems as well. Joining support groups to talk to like-minded people or visiting a psychologist to address your depression problem can be plenty helpful.
If TMD has caused enough damage to your dental and oral health already, you may want to visit your dentist for the treatment of such issues. Furthermore, be sure to follow an ideal dental hygiene routine to keep your teeth and gums healthy.