Temporomandibular disorders are conditions affecting the jaw muscles, the joint itself or TMJ, and the nerves contributing to chronic facial pain. Whenever there is a problem that impairs the complex systems of joints, bones, and muscle tissues from working normally and in harmony, it can contribute to the temporomandibular disorder.
The temporomandibular joint joins the skull to the jawbone. It helps with the usual functioning of the mouth in activities such as talking, eating, drinking, and yawning. If you have TMJ, our dentist at Central Dental Specialists can help with treatment and relieve pain.
What Are the Symptoms of TMJ?
The TMJ is a complex natural hinge that can be damaged in different ways. It is, therefore, prudent to look out for symptoms. These include pain within the jaw, neck, face, shoulder, or back. It is also possible to have restricted motion of the jaw, stiffness of the jaw muscles, and popping or clicking of the TMJ. Other symptoms are pain within the ears, jaw tenderness, difficulties or pain while chewing, and headaches.
What is TMJ Dental Treatment?
A dentist will first administer oral medication to combat the pain. The joint is then examined to determine the degree of damage present. The physical examinations include posture assessment, measurement of jaw and neck range of motion, checking for palpitations in the jaw area, and determining the strength of the jaw.
The dentist can then lay out a treatment plan. Remedies for mild cases include physical therapy, placing ice or a warm cloth on the muscle to reduce muscle spasms and pain, or massages. A mouthguard can also help in preventing more damage. Others include trigger-point injections, radio wave therapy, ultrasound, transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, and low-level laser therapy.
Severe cases require an x-ray to examine your jaw and teeth, a CT scan for the bones that form that hinge, and MRI scans for detailed evaluation. If the case is severe, an oral surgeon will perform arthrocentesis, arthroscopy, or open joint surgery. Arthroscopy can, on certain occasions, be used during diagnosis.
Who Treats TMJ?
TMJ can be treated by a healthcare provider trained to take on cases dealing with pain in musculoskeletal disorders. However, serious cases such as sports, car, and work-related injuries should be handled by an oral surgeon working together with a team of other specialists.
How Long Does TMJ Treatment Take?
Mild TMJ treatment takes between six weeks to two months. Severe cases, on the other hand, can take several months depending on the extent of the damage. Patients with TMJ disorders are advised to strictly adhere to their dentist’s treatment plan.
After undergoing treatment be sure to consume soft meals, and practice jaw stretching and muscle relaxation techniques to help in improving progress. Patients are advised to avoid extreme or sudden jaw movements, keep their teeth slightly apart preferably using a mouth guard, and avoid using their hands to rest their chin.
Schedule a Consultation Today!
Call (781) 438-6618 to talk to our dentist at Central Dental Specialists today regarding any symptoms linked to TMJ. We will book you a consultation with our dentist who will assess and treat you.