TMJ: Symptoms and Treatments
Temporomandibular Joint Disorder – otherwise known as TMJ, TMD, or TMJD, is a condition that impacts the function of the jaw joint. TMJ disorder can be caused by a number of different things, such as anatomy, injury, or misaligned teeth.
Symptoms of TMJ
Some people never realize they suffer from TMJ disorders, while others experience chronic pain. It can be common to experience symptoms such as:
- Popping or clicking as you open and close your mouth
- Deviation of your jaw from one side to the other during opening and closing
- Headaches and muscle pain near the jaw, ears, face, neck, or shoulders
- Flattened, worn teeth and restorations
- Your jaw “locking” in place, preventing you from opening or closing it
Mild TMJ discomfort is usually managed by taking an over the counter anti-inflammatory, such as ibuprofen. Applying a warm compress to the side of the face is also beneficial.
Unfortunately, some people need therapeutic steps to omit their jaw pain. A number of different options can be used, depending on the particular needs of each person. Some examples include
Orthodontic Therapy – If alignment of the teeth is causing the jaws to work atypically, then orthodontic therapy can correct the problem.
Bite Splints – Clenching or bruxism can lead to overuse of the TMJ, resulting in pain and worn teeth. A custom fitted bite splint can relieve stress to the teeth as well as prevent headaches by “training” your jaw to relax.
TENSing – Some dentists will use small electrodes to temporarily relax the muscles around the jaw.
Botox / Injectables – Injecting a dermal filler such as Botox near the TMJ can provide pain relief by relaxing me muscles for a few months at a time.
If you’re struggling with jaw pain or TMJ disorder, schedule a consultation with Dr. Paul Mathew to find out how we can help!