TMJ Treatment How To Get Relief From TMJ Pain
Do you feel pain whenever you open or close your mouth? Or do you hear a clicking or popping sound whenever you talk, yawn, or eat food? If so, your temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is not working as it should. This means that you should visit our dentist to receive TMJ treatment in El Segundo.
The temporomandibular joints are two joints that act as hinges and connect your lower jaw to your skull. The name can be difficult to pronounce and honestly a bit of a mouthful, but the TMJ is a very important joint. They are among the most complex joints in the body.
They work in tandem with several muscles to allow the jaw to move up and down, front and back, and side to side.
The TMJ is the one that allows the mouth to carry out its normal functions, including talking, chewing, yawning, laughing, and swallowing.
Connection Between Jaw Pain, TMJ, and TMD
You might experience jaw pain that seems to subside now and then without any treatment. However, there are times when the jaw pain lingers, and it might be challenging to figure out the root cause of the problem.
The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) connects the temporal bones of your skull to the jaw. The temporal bones are located in front of each ear.
When there is a problem with the temporomandibular joints, jaw muscles, and nerves connected to them, you might develop temporomandibular disorders (TMD). If any issue affects or prevents the complex system of bones, muscles, and joints from working in harmony, you will experience symptoms of temporomandibular joint disorder.
Some of the symptoms and signs of temporomandibular disorder might include headaches, locking of the jaws, dizziness, jaw pain or soreness, pain that spreads in the face, behind the eyes, shoulder, back, or neck, clicking sound, etc.
There is a propensity for people to use TMD and TMJ interchangeably. But, it’s not correct since TMJ is an acronym that refers to the temporomandibular joint, while TMD is an acronym that refers to the disorder.
In any case, there are instances where the exact cause of TMD might not be clear. It could be an excessive strain on the muscle group that controls chewing, swallowing, etc., and jaw joints. This might arise because of bruxism, the habit of grinding or clenching teeth.
Trauma to the jaw, neck, or head may also cause TMD. The impact may even dislocate the jaw, causing intense pain.
On the other hand, some people might experience TMD due to arthritis, fibromyalgia, or irritable bowel syndrome may worsen the pain of TMD.
This is why TMD is classified in the following categories:
- Myofascial pain – this is the most prevalent form of TMD. This type causes pain and discomfort in the connective tissue covering the muscles and muscles that control the neck, jaw, and shoulder.
- Internal derangement of the TMJ – This simply means that the jaw is dislocated, there is a displaced disk, or there is an injury to the rounded end of the jaw bone that connects to the skull
- Degenerative joint disease – In this case, diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis affect the TMJ
Best Practices to Manage TMJ Disorders
If you are lucky, the TMD symptoms may disappear after several days. But at times, the symptoms may linger on after months and even years. If this describes you, you might need TMJ treatment.
In most cases, the treatment plan will depend on the cause. So, our dentist near you might offer several modes of treatment that will include:
Our dentist may prescribe medication that can help relieve pain associated with TMD, such as anti-inflammatories and pain relievers for a limited time. Tricyclic antidepressants can also help deal with the pain associated with bruxism. Also, muscle relaxants can relieve pain for some days or weeks.
Also, our dentist may decide to use non-drug therapies to treat TMD. Some of the therapies our dentist may use will be oral splints or mouthguards to deal with jaw pain, especially if you suffer from bruxism. Physical therapy that strengthens the jaw muscles might also be used. Physical therapy can be used with moist heat and ice to relieve pain.
You can choose to eat soft foods that don’t require a lot of chewing to reduce the strain on the jaw.
Surgery might be your best shot at dealing with the TMD when all other methods don’t work out. You can benefit from different procedures, including injections, TMJ arthroscopy, etc.
If you suspect that you have TMD, contact us at Dr. Smile, and we would love to help you.