Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Treatment
Temporomandibular joint, more commonly called TMJ, is the joint at the base of the skull that connects the lower and upper jaw. This is one of the most complex joints in the entire body, capable of forwarding and backward movement, rotations, and side-to-side movements. The temporomandibular joint is held together by ligaments which are connected to muscles to aid movement of the jaw for talking, eating and yawning. TMJ often refers to complications and problems with this joint.
Some of the most common symptoms of TMJ problems are:
- Pain in the jaw
- Facial aches
- Limited movement of the lower jaw
- Pain or aching around the ear and jaw
- Clicking sounds
- Muscle spasms
- Locking of the jaw
- Difficulty chewing and pain when chewing
- Difficulty opening the mouth wide
- Clicking or grating noise when opening the mouth or chewing
If you are suffering from painful symptoms related to TMJ, and have limited movement of the jaw, you should seek advice from your dentist for treatment options.
What causes TMJ?
This condition is often brought about by stress, tensing of the jaw, grinding and clenching of the teeth while sleeping.
Some potential causes of the disease include genetics, hormones, low-level infections, auto-immune diseases, trauma, and clenching or grinding of the teeth. Diagnosis and evaluation of such conditions are performed by dentists experienced in TMJ problems and treatments.
Grinding and Clenching
Clenching during your sleep can be the cause of TMJ related pain. Grinding your teeth can be caused by TMJ and may cause further problems with misalignment of the jaw and damaging of the teeth.
Treatment for TMJ
Some common TMJ treatments are jaw splints, bite plates and Bite Adjustments. Mouth guards and plates can also prevent teeth grinding and clenching of the teeth. Furthermore, muscle relaxing medications, physical therapy, meditation and relaxation techniques can help relieve the symptoms of TMJ. Your dentist can guide you toward the best treatment for you.
Severe grinding of teeth causes the jaw joint to function incorrectly causing headaches and pain: