The temporomandibular joint [TMJ] functions as a sliding hinge to connect your jawbone to your skull. You have one TMJ joint on either side of the jaw. TMJ disorders which are also mentioned as TMD are capable of causing pain in your jaw joint as well as the muscles that control the movements of the jaw.
The precise reason for TMJ disorders is difficult to determine because the pain could be attributed to a combination of factors like arthritis, genetics, and jaw injury. Some people with pain in the jaw could be suffering from the problem of bruxism even though many people who habitually grind or clench their teeth may never develop TMJ disorders.
The temporomandibular joint is a combination of a hinge action with a sliding motion. Parts of the bone interacting with the joint are covered with cartilage and separated by a tiny shock-absorbing disk which assists to keep the movement smooth. The painful conditions of TMJ can occur when:
The precise causes of TMJ disorders are however unclear. However, people suffering from jaw pain are advised not to consider pain from a TMJ disorder as a problem with a root canal.
Some of the common problems associated with TMJ disorders are the following:
When you open your mouth to chew the TMJ disorder can cause a clicking sound or integrating sensation. However, if you do not encounter any pain or find yourselves limited with the movement with your jaw clicking you will not be requiring treatment for the TMJ disorder.
You can consider seeking medical attention if you are suffering from persistent pain or tenderness in your jaw. Your physician, dentist or a TMJ specialist can discuss the causes for this condition and the treatments to deal with this problem. You are advised not to be fearful about being recommended laser dentistry to overcome a TMJ disorder because you may find relief from the problem by discussing it with a TMJ specialist. However, you may need help from your dentist if you are using lumineers over your teeth and also suffering from the problem of bruxism because they could be affected with the clenching and grinding of your teeth.
Your dentist or doctor will examine your jaw even as they discuss your symptoms. They may even:
Listen to and feel your jaw by asking you to open and close your mouth.
Observe the range of motion in your jaw.
Press on areas around the jaw to identify signs of discomfort and pain.
If a problem is suspected by your doctor or dentist you may need to undergo dental x-rays to examine your teeth and jaw, CT scans for providing detailed images of the bones involved in the joint, and MRI scans to reveal any problems with the joints disk or soft tissue surrounding it.
TMJ disorders can go away without treatment in some cases but if your symptoms continue to persist you may be recommended various treatment options which may include more than one at the same time.
In most cases, TMJ disorders can be managed with nonsurgical treatments as the medications can potentially help to relieve the pain associated with the problem. If you are unable to find relief from over-the-counter medications for the pain your dentist or doctor can prescribe stronger pain relievers for a limited period.
You could also be prescribed tricyclic antidepressants such as amitriptyline which is commonly used as a medication for depression but can also be used as a substitute for pain relief, sleeplessness, and control over bruxism.
Muscle relaxants may also be prescribed for use over a few days or weeks to relieve the pain caused by TMJ disorders which may be created by muscle spasms.
You may be recommended surgery only when all other methods have failed but if you receive this recommendation it is suggested that you discuss the potential risks and benefits of the surgery while also considering any other options which may be helpful.
You may also consider lifestyle changes and home remedies by making attempts to becoming aware of your tension related habits which could be leading you to clench your jaw, grind your teeth or get into other habits. Avoid stressing your jaw muscles by having soft foods and staying clear of sticky and chewy food.
TMJ disorders despite causing you discomfort in the jaw and needing help from a dentist or doctor are unlikely to subject you to dental conditions which may require surgery or regular visits to the dentist. This is a problem with the temporomandibular joint which in most cases can be treated either by over-the-counter medications or prescriptions.