How To Treat The TMJ

Jan 01, 2020
Do you have persistent migraine headaches that just won’t go away? Instead of filling up your system with various over-the-counter drugs, talking to a medical expert can solve this problem. This happens to be one of the greatest benefits of making regular visits to your dentist.

What Is TMJ?

It is the acronym used to refer to the temporomandibular joint. It is the connective joint that connects the upper and lower jaw of the mouth. The joint is located slightly in front of the ears. It plays a major role in facilitating the movements of the mouth. Functions of the mouth like chewing, biting, yawning or even talking, are possible because of this joint.

What Causes TMD?

For different individuals, the disorder of the joint results from different triggers. Some of the most common causes are:
  • Bruxism – is a condition where patients grind their teeth at night. Excessive teeth grinding is not only compromising to the health of your teeth but also the TMJ. The pressure exerted when teeth grinding leads to tension on the TMJ.
  • Stress – while stress has been attributed to many health risks, it is not directly linked to TMD. Stress only causes TMD when you involve in aggressive constriction of the facial muscles. Tightening the facial muscles when you are stressed will divert some of the pressure and tension to the joint.
  • Injuries and accidents – if your face is significantly impacted from the outside, chances are that the joint will suffer some damage. The impact can cause a dislocation of the connective joint, or worse, cause fractures.

Understanding the Disorder Of TMJ

When the TMJ is not functioning as it should, the disorder is known as TMD (temporomandibular disorder). The dysfunction of this joint makes it difficult for a patient to perform the basic functions of the mouth. Most patients, however, do not know about the disorder, until they have seen a TMJ specialist in Calgary. Since the joint is not necessarily exposed to the inside for easy identification, finding out the problems linked to the joint can be hard.

Diagnosis Of TMD

More often than not, TMD can be misdiagnosed because of the symptoms that show up. Unless you have scheduled for a dental TMJ consultation, you can end up treating the wrong ailment for such a long time. Some of the symptoms you should be on the lookout for TMD include:
  • Pain when eating – the most common way you can identify anomalies in your TMJ is when you are eating. Chewing heavily relies on the jawbone, the TMJ, as well as the facial muscles. Frequently moving them, therefore, will cause discomfort and pain if the joint is dysfunctional.
  • Ear pain – given the position of the joint, some patients report experiencing pain in their ears. For some, it is a discomfort that comes in the form of a ringing and tingly feeling in the ears.
  • Fatigued facial muscles – if you have been cringing for a while, your facial muscles will most likely give in to fatigue.
  • Migraine headaches – perhaps you are attributing your headaches to the wrong issues. Sometimes, your head or stress has nothing to do with your headaches. TMD can result in persistent headaches because of the strain it puts in the head.
  • Jaw locking – this happens to some patients with severe cases of TMD. It is a situation where the upper and lower jaws are stuck in the open-mouth position. Technically, opening your mouth to bite, laugh or yawn can be the perfect moment for jaw locking to occur.

Treatment Options for TMD

The treatments for this disorder vary, ranging from medication, dental applications, and devices, self-care measures, as well as therapies. The treatment you will receive depends on the severity of your disorder, based on the diagnosis of your doctor. Some of the treatment options available are:
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs – this medication is used to help relieve pain, and reduce the inflammation caused by the disorder.
  • Muscle relaxant – they are used to help decrease facial muscle tension, which then helps relieve muscle pain and discomfort.
  • Mouthguards – they are used to help protect the mouth from any injuries. This is more so for sportspersons who are more likely to suffer injuries than other people.
  • Splint – it is a rigid accessory or device that is used to stabilize the joint, following an injury. It acts as a form of protection to the injured joint.
  • Stress management – is necessary to help relieve the facial muscles from constrictions, for example, through verbalizing frustration to gradually improve mental health.