A jaw disorder known by the name of TMJ disorder or Temporo-mandibular joint disorder is a condition in which jaw joint and muscles controlling the jaw joint suffers acute pain. This is because TMJ is a joint that connects the skull and the lower jaw. TMJ problem is classified as degenerative joint disorders, muscle and joint derangement disorders where degenerative disorder occurs because of the changes in joints like arthritis because of which the cartilage can be destroyed causing this disorder. The wear and tear of the Temporo-mandibular joint can also be responsible for the condition. The most common are muscle disorders known as the myofacial disorders which occurs because of the problems in the muscles.
Causes: Those people who have a habit of clenching and grinding the teeth offer suffer from TMJ pain. Some people who have faced some type of jaw injury also experience this pain. Generally this problem occurs because of poor dental care, aging, teeth grinding, clenching and gum chewing. Sometimes the disc of the jaw joint slips and painful disorder occurs because of cartilage damage, damage of joint because of a blow or impact. Pain also occurs because of disk erosion or when the disk moves from its place which happens usually when the person sleeps at night and once they wake up, they find that they can open their mouth only up to 10mm. The joint locks.
Symptoms : The TMJ symptoms of TMJ surface are, pain in chewing muscles, face, neck and jaw. The other signs are stiffness in the jaw muscles, changes in the upper and lower fit of the jaw, limited movement of the jaw that locks, painful popping, locking or clicking. The symptoms also include pain in ear and head, loose teeth, hearing issues, crowded teeth, receding gums, pain while hard chewing, etc.
Diagnosis and Treatment : The symptoms are similar to other condition of the jaw and the specialist would therefore do a careful examination and study the causes properly for identifying the disease. He would check the pain, tenderness, conduct panoramic x rays. Sometimes imaging tests, MRI and CT will also be conducted.
The TMJ treatment can be cured by non surgical treatments and proper care but if the disorder is severe, then a surgery may be required to cure the problem. Sometimes the symptoms go away on their won but when the disorder persists the TMJ specialist gives medication to relieve one from the pain. The pain relievers are given and if the pain is acute, the high dose is recommended. The amitriptyline, medicine is also given which is usually for depression but works as a pain reliever as well. Muscle relaxants are also given to patients along with sedatives when night time clenching enhances the pain.
Some therapies are also given by the TMJ specialist to relieve the pain, like the bite guards are inserted over the patient's teeth for pain reduction. Some exercises and counseling sessions are also suggested for improvement in the condition. When the condition is worse, surgery to repair or replace the jaw is performed.
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Understand TMJ and its treatments