Temporomandibular muscle and joint problem, known as TMJ, can be a single or a variety of disorders in the jaw and the muscle supporting the jaw. These disorders cause a considerable amount of pain and can result in complete dysfunction of the jaw. So far, the number of people who suffer from TMJ disorders is unknown but it is clear that they occur more commonly in women.
You can visit our clinic for TMJ treatment in Mission Viejo Ca, for a detailed evaluation of your symptoms and problems in the jaw. If you experience discomfort, it is better to be safe than sorry. You are better off being examined by one of our TMJ dentists.
In most cases when people experience slight pain in the joint or muscles of the jaw, it turns out to be a minor problem. Generally TMJ pain and discomforts are short-lived and occur in varying timelines. The pain goes away gradually without the use of medicine or any other significant treatment. However some people have serious TMJ problems which are often long-lasting and painful.
What is TMJ?
The temporomandibular joint is located on the inside of the lower jaw (mandible) and connects the mandible with the bone which is located at the side of your head. This bone is known as the temporal bone. You can feel the bone if you place your fingers in front of the ears and open them wide. The flexibility of the joints allow you to move your jaws side to side, open your mouth as wide as you can and bite hard. The bone is covered by muscle to allow you to control how you move your jaw.
The temporomandibular joint is known to be the most complicated joint in the human body. Due to the complexity in movement allowed by the joint and its location, any disorder in the joint can turn out to be extremely debilitating.
What are the Disorders Related to TMJ?
TMJ disorders vary from person to person, but dentists usually agree that there are three prime categories in which they fit.
- Myofascial pain – involves severe pain or discomfort in the jaw and its muscle function
- Internal derangement – dislocation of jaw, injured condyle or jaw disc misplacement
- Rheumatic disease – Conditions like arthritis can considerably affect the temporomandibular joint
It is still unclear as to how TMJ disorders progress. Sometimes, the symptoms go away over time, but sometimes they get really bad. The causes of such changes are still unknown. Many people exhibit a mild form of TMJ which is manageable through medications and a change in lifestyle. The symptoms of mild TMJ can either progress or disappear within a couple of weeks or in some cases, months. For others, TMJ disorders could last a long time and could be incredibly devastating.
It is therefore strongly advised that you refer to a TMJ specialist in Mission Viejo so that the dentist can guide you on how to manage the pain and prescribe proper medications.
Symptoms/ Signs of TMJ
There are a number of symptoms or signs which can be linked to TMJ complications. The most common symptom that patients coming to TMJ treatment indicate is searing pain when chewing. The pain is either in the muscles or the jaw joints, or both. Here is a list of other symptoms;
- Consistent pain in the jaw, face or neck
- Stiffness in jaw muscles
- Locking of the jaw or restriction in movements of the jaw
- Painful clicking, popping or grafting in the jaw joint when opening or closing mouth
- Alterations in how your upper or lower teeth fit together
As there are no standard diagnostic procedures for TMJ diseases due to the fact that the symptoms related to the disorder are still not clear, the identification and assessment of the symptoms can be a complex and confusing task. However it will be a smart decision if you come to our dental practice in Mission Viejo, CA for TMJ diagnosis. Our TMJ dentists will evaluate your case thoroughly with precision involving x-ray imaging of your jaw and a complete diagnosis of related areas.
TMJ Disorders and Treatment
There is still plenty of research to be done to uncover the most effective treatment for TMJ disorders. That is why our TMJ specialist dentists advise our patients to use the safest, irreversible and traditional treatments available. Conservative treatments do not damage or change the muscles or joints in the jaw. There are some reversible treatments aimed at providing comfort and relieving pain.
Self Care Practices
When suffering from a mild or strong TMJ disorder, you can take these steps to ease your symptoms;
- Eat soft foods
- Apply ice packs frequently
- Avoid extreme jaw movements including opening your mouth wide, yawning wide, singing loud or chewing gum
- Learn techniques to release your stress and be more relaxed
For individuals who are suffering from mild TMJ disorders, there are several over-the-counter and prescription painkillers available. Medications like ibuprofen and anti-inflammatory drugs can help to ease the pain and discomfort in the jaw. Your dentist can also provide you prescription drugs, such as strong anti-depressants and muscle relaxants to ease your pain.
Our TMJ dentist also provides stabilization splints for oral appliances, which is a bite guard designed to fit over the upper teeth. It can also fit under the lower teeth. These splints are the most common treatment for TMJ illnesses and are reversible.
Both conservative and reversible treatments ease the symptoms and provide pain relief. Keep in mind that these do not cure TMJ. If you notice that your symptoms are worsening, then consult one of our dentists immediately.
If you want to know more about TMJ and TMJ treatment plans, you can contact us any time and schedule an appointment. TMJ disorders can get serious and it is best that the problem is nipped in the bud. So call us if you spot any symptoms.
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