TMJ Disorder: What does it affect?
The TMJ is the joint connecting your temporal bones to your jaw allowing you to perform the everyday tasks of chewing, breathing, talking and more.
Temporomandibular joint disorders (TMD) happen when there is an issue with your jaw and facial muscles. When this issue progresses it can cause serious complications like the inability to move your jaw.
What are the different types of TMJ disorders?
There are three main types of TMJ disorders that we commonly see. They are:
Joint Degenerative Disorders
Most commonly known as osteoarthritis, this joint degenerative disorder happens when cartilage holding the round ends of the two bones in your jaw together breaks or wears away.
Cartilage absorbs shocks during movement and allows your bones to glide easily over each other. When the cartilage erodes, pain and swelling will occur, and you may not be able to move your jaw.
Also referred to as myofascial pain, muscle disorders involve pain and discomfort in all the muscles controlling the function of your jaw. You may also experience pain in your jaw muscles, shoulders and neck.
Joint Derangement Disorders
A soft, small disc located between the temporal bone and the condyle makes the opening and closing of the jaw smooth and easy. When you are talking or eating this disc is also responsible for absorbing any shock that may occur.
When an individual has a joint derangement disorder, the inner workings of the jaw are disrupted or unbalanced due to a dislocated disc or damaged bone.
This displaced disc causes internal derangement of the temporomandibular joint. There is no surgery available at this time to help patients suffering from this type of TMJ disorder.
What are the symptoms that you may experience with TMJ disorders?
With every type of TMJ Disorder, you’ll likely experience pain in your jaw and face. Along with the pain you may also find it difficult to doo anything that involves your mouth of jaw.
Some of the other symptoms that are commonly found with TMJ disorders are:
- Facial bruising or swelling
- Problems opening, closing or clenching your jaw
- Headaches, dizziness or pain in your temples
- Grinding, clicking or popping sounds when you open your jaw
- Additional pain in your neck and/or shoulders
Why is it important to seek care for TMJ disorders?
If at-home remedies such as avoiding stress, chewing gum, gently massaging your neck and jaw muscles, or trying over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) have not proven effective, you should make a dental appointment.
Your dentist will review your dental history, perform a thorough examination of your bite and jaw, and take x-rays to assess before providing an official diagnosis of TMJ Disorder. The treatment he or she recommends may include:
- TMJ therapy
- Physical Therapy
- Oral Surgery
- Dental splints
- Prescription medications
Your dentist can help you manage your TMJ Disorder with a combination of home remedies and attentive dental care.