Temporomandibular Joint Disorder – TMJ Information
Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJD or TMD), or TMJ syndrome is an umbrella term that covers acute or chronic inflammation of the temporomandibular joint, which connects the lower jaw to the skull. The disorder and resulting dysfunction can lead to extreme pain and impairment. Since the disorder transcends the boundaries between dentistry, neurology, and several other health-care disciplines, TMJ disorder treatment can be approached in very many different ways.
TMJ Disorder Symptoms
TMJ Disorder symptoms can vary in intensity and frequency. Here are some common TMJ disorder symptoms.
- Headache: About 80% of people with a TMJ disorder suffer from headache, while 40% experience some type of facial pain. Pain is often made worse when opening and closing the mouth.
- Sensitivity to Cold.
- Ringing or ear pain: Ear pain caused by a TMJ disorder can be differentiated from an ear infection by the absence of both hearing loss and ear drainage.
- Sounds: People suffering from a TMJ disorder may hear popping, grinding, or crunching sounds which may or may not be accompanied by increased pain.
Treatments for TMJ
TMJ disorder treatments are widely available. Some common proceedures to treat TMJ disorder symptoms include:
- Jaw rest: Avoid chewing gum, eating hard, chewy, or crunchy foods. Do not take big bites out of food. When resting the jaw, keep the teeth apart as much as possible.
- Heat and ice therapy: These help by reducing muscle tension and spasm.
- Medications: Over the counter pain medicines such as aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen, or steroids can help control pain and inflammation while muscle relaxants such as diazepam aid in reducing muscle spasms.
- Physical therapy: Passively opening and closing the jaw, massage, and electrical stimulation aid in reducing pain and in increasing the range of motion and strength of the temporomandibular joint.
- Occlusal therapy: A custom-made acrylic appliance worn over the teeth at night is usually prescribed. It helps balance the bite and decrease or eliminate teeth clenching or grinding.
- Surgery: If in case all medical treatments fail, surgery is the next, and probably last, option. TMJ arthoscopy, ligament tightening, joint restructuring, and joint replacement are some of the surgical procedures that can be performed to correct joint damage or deterioration.
Botox Treatments for TMJ
Botox treatments for TMJ disorders and associated jaw tension and pain are something more and more patients are considering. When injected into facial muscles afflicted with soreness and discomfort, Botox relieves TMJ and jaw tension. Most times, the injections eliminate headaches resulting from teeth grinding, and, in cases of severe stress, they can even reduce lockjaw. Even though Botox treatment for TMJ conditions are still considered experimental, encouraging evidence suggests that these can be extremely effective.