TMJ Disorders & Orofacial Pain
Jaw Pain? Regain Comfortable Function
Do You Have A TMJ Disorder? Ask Yourself:
What Is TMJ/TMD?
TMJ (temporomandibular joint) disorders are a family of problems related to your jaw joint. If you have had symptoms like pain or a “clicking” sound, you’ll be glad to know that these problems are more easily diagnosed and treated than they were in the past. These symptoms occur when the joints of the jaw and the chewing muscles do not work together correctly. TMJ stands for temporomandibular joint, which is the name for each joint (right and left) that connects your jaw to your skull. Since some types of TMJ problems can lead to more serious conditions, early detection and treatment are important.
TMJ disorders develop for many reasons. You might clench or grind your teeth, tightening your jaw muscles and stressing your TM joint. You may have a damaged jaw joint due to injury or disease. Injuries and arthritis can damage the joint directly or stretch or tear the muscle ligaments. As a result, the disk, which is made of cartilage and functions as the “cushion” of the jaw joint, can slip out of position. Whatever the cause, the results may include a misaligned bite, pain, clicking, or grating noise when you open your mouth, or trouble opening your mouth wide.
Diagnosing The Possible Mechanism
TMJ pain is not a diagnosis as it could mean one of several things. All it indicates is that the pain is in or around the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). While muscle pain is the most common mechanism in TMJ pain, the specific mechanism in a patient could be very different and muscle pain may just be a result of a different mechanism.
Some of the common diagnoses in TMJ pain or orofacial pain are:
There are various treatment options for TMJ Pain that our Doctors can utilize to improve the harmony and function of your jaw. At you consultation you will need a 3D x-ray to evaluate the joint, you may also need an MRI to evaluate the disc. Once an evaluation confirms a diagnosis of TMJ disorder, our Doctors will determine the proper course of treatment. It is important to note that treatment always works best with a team approach of self-care combined with professional care.
Stress management techniques such as biofeedback or physical therapy may also be recommended, as well as a temporary, clear plastic appliance known as a nightguard. A nightguard fits over your top or bottom teeth and helps keep your teeth apart, thereby relaxing the muscles and reducing pain. There are different types of appliances used for different purposes. A nightguard helps you stop clenching or grinding your teeth and reduces muscle tension at night. It also helps to protect the cartilage and joint surfaces. An anterior positioning appliance moves your jaw forward, relieves pressure on parts of your jaw, and aids in disk repositioning. It may be worn 24 hours/day to help your jaw heal. An orthotic stabilization appliance is worn 24 hours/day, or just at night, to move your jaw into proper position. Appliances also help protect tooth wear.
The initial goals are to relieve the muscle spasms and joint pain. This is usually accomplished with a pain reliever, anti-inflammatory, or muscle relaxant. Steroids can be injected directly into the joints to reduce pain and inflammation.
Self-care treatments can often be effective as well and include:
TMJ pain can often be treated with physical therapy, night guards, anti-inflammatories and, in some cases Botox. Our Doctors will take a careful history to assess the condition. This includes a pain questionnaire, history of trauma and oral habits such as teeth grinding and nail biting, as well as an MRI and X-ray.
Self Care Tips
Dr. Kur Discusses the Evaluation Process for TMJ Disorders
Don't Live With Jaw Limitations!
Overcome them with TMJ treatment.
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