TMJ Disorders: What You Should Know

TMJ DISORDERS: WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW - ThoroughDent Smiles

TMJ disorders cause damage to your jaw joints as well as muscles that are in control of the jaw. Due to the complexity of this joint, treatment and diagnosis of TMJ disorders can be rather challenging. 

There is an estimate of around 12 percent of the people residing in the United States experience TMJ disorders. It is said that women are more prone to getting this disorder than men, with 9 women to every 1 man experiencing severity in pain and restrictions in jaw movement. 

For both patients and doctors alike, it is crucial to understand and comprehend the causes and symptoms along with treatment options that are available for TMJ disorders. 


What is the Temporomandibular joint? 

This joint is located at the base of the skull and is commonly referred to as TMJ. This joint is responsible for the movement of chewing and talking. It connects the lower jaw which is scientifically known as the mandible to the temporal bone which is on the side of the skull. 

Since the TMJ allows for this movement, it holds much significance and is one of the most complex joints in the body. Due to its complexity, it can become difficult to treat severe disorders effectively. 

What are TMJ disorders?

One of our dentists, Dr. Jordan Smith from ThoroughDent Smiles explains that the disorder affects the TMJ specifically where a range of symptoms can be experienced that may cause varying amounts of discomfort. 

With a variety of treatment options available, TMJ disorders have a broad category and come with many possible causes. Most of the time, cases resolve themselves, but at times they prolong and re-occur as well. 

Causes

There are many causes for TMJ, some of these include:

  • Physical injury
  • Arthritis
  • Clenching of teeth during sleep as well as grinding 
  • Autoimmune disease
  • Dental surgery
  • Infections that have become severe

Other causes may be genetic and hormonal or even environmental. For example, many violinists experience TMJ disorder at a higher rate than the general public. This is primarily because their work requires them to hold an instrument under their jaw which causes strain and leads to TMJ disorders. In addition, due to the fact that women experience TMJ disorders more than men, researchers are making it a point to investigate the hormonal causes for TMJ.  

Symptoms 

There are many different symptoms of TMJ. Many include: 

Pain

This is one of the most obvious symptoms of a TMJ disorder. While moving the jaw, pain is can be felt. Along with pain, migraines and headaches may also occur, as well as a possibility of neck ache, backache, ear-aches and/or pain around the ear that spreads to the cheeks. 

Sounds 

This is usually a painless symptom and can be exhibited in the form of unusual popping, clicking or even a grinding noise that can occur while eating and talking. 

Restricted movement

Limited movement due to avoiding discomfort can also be an indication of TMJ disorder. 

TMJ Treatment 

The following illustrates the variety of options that are available for treatment:

  • Self-care and lifestyle changes
  • No chewing gum 
  • Eating that are particularly soft
  • No tensing or clenching your jaw 

Treating existing conditions

In some cases, injections may be recommended as a treatment, such as steroid injections. For short-term, over the counter medication can also reduce discomfort. 

Surgery 

For cases that are more severe, where the pain is ever-increasing and unavoidable, then surgery is the safest option for efficient treatment. 

Outlook 

Although TMJ disorders are usually not so serious and mostly pass after some time, they may however in some cases be far more long-lasting and more serious. 
Regardless of the severity, it is always recommended that professional medical help and advice is sought for as it is primarily essential for the treatment of TMJ disorders. Contact ThoroughDent Smiles to consult a dentist regarding TMJ disorder. If you need dental emergency services, give our office a call! At ThoroughDent Smiles, we provide 24/7 dental emergency services.