TMJ: Causes, Symptoms & Treatment Options

Welcome to our blog, where our dentists at Prince Albert are here to provide you with information about TMJ (temporomandibular joint) disorders. In this article, we will simplify the topic by discussing the three main types of TMJ disorders, their symptoms, and the available treatment options.

What is TMJ Disorder?

The TMJ is the joint that connects the skull's temporal bones (found below your temple and in front of your ear) to your jaw. It serves as a hinge, allowing you to perform various activities like moving your jaw, eating, talking, and even breathing.

Temporomandibular joint disorders (TMD) occur when there are problems with your jaw and facial muscles. This can lead to pain in the affected area, and in severe cases, the joint may become immobile. 

Types of TMJ Disorder

There are actually three main types of TMJ disorders:

Joint Degenerative Disorders

Osteoarthritis is a condition where the cartilage that connects the ends of the two bones in your jaw wears away or breaks. This leads to pain, swelling, and difficulty moving your jaw because the cartilage, which absorbs shocks and helps your bones glide smoothly, is no longer functioning properly. 

Muscle Disorders

Muscle disorders, also known as myofascial pain, cause discomfort and pain in the muscles responsible for jaw movement. Additionally, you may feel pain in your jaw, shoulders, and neck muscles.

Joint Derangement Disorders

There is a small, soft disc positioned between the temporal bone and the condyle that helps the jaw move smoothly and effortlessly. This disc also plays a crucial role in absorbing shocks to the jaw joint during movement.

Joint derangement disorder occurs when the inner workings of the jaw are disturbed or imbalanced due to a dislocated disc or damaged bone.

The dislocated disc results in internal derangement of the temporomandibular joint. Unfortunately, there is currently no surgical solution available to address this issue.

Symptoms of TMJ Disorder

If you have any type of TMJ Disorder, you will probably feel pain in your jaw and face. The region near your ears might also be painful, and you will experience discomfort when you try to eat or speak.

Other possible symptoms include:
  • Bruising or swelling on your face
  • Difficulty in 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

When You Should See a Dentist for TMJ Treatment

If you've tried home remedies like reducing stress, chewing gum, gently massaging your neck and jaw muscles, and using over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) without success, it's time to schedule a dental appointment.

During your appointment, your dentist will carefully review your dental history, thoroughly examine your bite and jaw, and take x-rays to evaluate your condition and provide an official diagnosis of TMJ Disorder. The recommended treatment options may include:

  • TMJ therapy
  • Physical Therapy
  • Oral Surgery
  • Dental splints
  • Prescription medications
Your dentist will help you manage your TMJ Disorder by combining effective home remedies with attentive dental care.

Are you experiencing headaches, dizziness, or jaw pain? We may be able to develop a custom treatment plan to help. Book an appointment with our Prince Albert dentists today.

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