Different Treatments Are Available For Temporomandibular Joint Disorders

The TMJ syndrome is a disorder of the nerves and muscles of the jaw may have been caused by an injury or inflammation to the temporomandibular joint. This joint provides the connection between the jawbone and the skull. Injuries and inflammation to the temporomandibular joint cause pain when chewing, crackling, clicking, swelling on the sides of the face, nerve inflammation, bruxism, and other problems. This condition is also known as TMD disorder.

The Causes Of TMJ/TMD Syndrome

Professionals within the medical fraternity have been unable to precisely pinpoint the cause of TMD. Muscle tightness and dysfunction that characterize this condition could be contributed by multiple factors. No clarity is available whether any of these causes can lead to TMJ syndrome or whether they are a result of the disorder. Some of the causes that have been mentioned are the following:

  • The trauma of the teeth and the jaw.
  • Poor posture.
  • Grinding of the teeth.
  • Anxiety or stress.
  • Musculoskeletal disorders and arthritis.
  • Excessive gum chewing and orthodontic braces.

What Are the Symptoms And Signs of TMJ Syndrome

People affected by the TMJ syndrome may feel pain in the jaw joint located just in front of the ear. The pain from the disorder may include the face, eye, forehead, neck or ear. Some of the signs and symptoms of TMJ include the following:

  • Tenderness and pain in the jaw where the joint is located.
  • Pain resembling a toothache.
  • Earaches or sounds of cracking in the ears.
  • Blurred vision.
  • Muscle spasms of the jaw.
  • Mouth pain, facial pain, numbness in the chin or tingling, pain in the cheeks, jaw and at the base of the tongue.

Diagnosing TMJ/TMD Syndrome

The doctor offering TMJ treatment in Houston, TX, will ask for the patient’s medical history to conduct a physical exam to determine the cause of the symptoms. As no specific tests for diagnosing TMD are available the patient may be referred by the doctor to an oral and maxillofacial specialist, a dentist specializing in jaw disorders to confirm the diagnosis. The health care specialist may even request an MRI of the joint for detecting damages to the cartilage of the jaw joint and to eliminate other medical conditions.

What Treatment Is Provided For TMJ/TMD Syndrome?

The symptoms of this syndrome often respond well to home remedies such as treatments for jaw tension. Home remedies such as applying ice packs to the area of the joint, over-the-counter NSAIDs like ibuprofen, acetaminophen, and other pain relievers will also prove helpful. Patients must avoid eating hot foods and chewing gum. Relaxation techniques and stress management methods may also be recommended by the treating doctors.

Medical professionals may also use TMJ neurotoxin therapy for relaxing the muscles of the jaw. Neurotoxin is also known as Botox and is not approved by the FDA for the treatment of TMJ/TMD disorders but is nevertheless being used by some professionals.

Prescription grade medicines may also be provided for treating this disorder. Medical professionals could recommend muscle relaxants, anti-inflammatory drugs, steroid injections, benzodiazepines, nerve pain medications, sleep medications, and opiates.

Can TMD/TMJ Disorder Be Prevented?

The prevention of this disorder can often be achieved by using self-care remedies at home that are also suggested by medical professionals. Having soft foods, maintaining proper posture, practicing relaxation techniques and stress reduction techniques, using appliances recommended by jaw care professionals and avoiding chewing gum are some of the suggestions provided. Recommendations are also made to use proper safety equipment to prevent fractures of the jaw, and dislocations when exercising, working or participating in sporting activities.

The Prognosis for TMJ/TMD Treatment

The prognosis for this condition is generally good. Many reasons can be attributed as the cause of the TMJ syndrome and therefore the outlook will depend on the cause if it is determined. People will be able to manage the discomfort with self-care and home remedies. The complications from chronic and long-term TMJ syndrome will include pain in the face of chronic headaches. In severe cases where the pain is unmanageable or is associated with other inflammatory disorders long-term TMJ treatment in Houston, TX, may become necessary. Treatment for this condition can be provided by a primary care provider, and oral maxillofacial specialist, an ENT specialist or even a dentist. Pain management specialists can also be approached if TMJ pain is extremely severe.