Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJ/TMD) refers to a variety of conditions that affect TM joints, jaw muscles and facial nerves. The temporomandibular joints, called TMJ, are the joints and jaw muscles that make it possible to open and close your mouth. Located on each side of the head, your TMJ work together when you chew, speak or swallow and include muscles and ligaments as well as the jaw bone. They also control the lower jaw (mandible) as it moves forward, backward and side to side.
Each TMJ has a disc between the ball and socket. The disc cushions the load while enabling the jaw to open widely and rotate or glide. Any problem that prevents this complex system of muscles, ligaments, discs and bones from working properly may result in a painful TMJ disorder.
TMD affects more than twice as many women (particularly those of childbearing age) as men and is the most common non-dental related chronic facial pain.
Stress and TMD
Stress is thought to be a factor in TMD. Even strenuous physical tasks, such as lifting a heavy object or stressful situations, can aggravate TMD by causing overuse of jaw muscles, specifically clenching or grinding teeth (also known as bruxism).
TMD disorders can be difficult to diagnose. There are no standard tests to diagnose these disorders. Your doctor may refer you to a dentist or an ear, nose, and throat (ENT) specialist to diagnose your condition.
Your doctor may examine your jaw to see if there is swelling or tenderness if you have symptoms of a TMJ disorder. Your doctor may also use several different imaging tests. These can include:
Diagnosis is an important step before treatment. However, because the exact causes and symptoms of TMD are not clear, diagnosing these disorders can be confusing. At present, there is no widely accepted, standard test to correctly identify TMD.
Other dental conditions, such as a toothache or sinus problems, can cause similar symptoms. Scientists are also exploring how behavioral, psychological and physical factors may combine to cause TMD.
Your dentist may also take x-rays and make a cast of your teeth to see how your bite fits together, or may request specialized x-rays for the TM joints. Your complete medical history may be reviewed, so it is important to keep your dental office record up-to-date.
Your dentist will recommend what type of treatment is needed for your particular problem or refer you to a specialist, such as specially trained facial pain experts. You may also want to check with your physician about TMD-type symptoms.
Modify the pain. This can mean resting the joint, taking a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug, such as aspirin or ibuprofen, or applying moist heat to the painful areas.
Practice relaxation techniques. Biofeedback or relaxation training may help to manage stress. Your dentist may prescribe a nightguard to prevent your teeth from grinding during sleep.
Fix poorly aligned teeth. Your dentist may suggest some adjustment, including orthodontic treatment, to correct teeth alignment.
Keep in mind that for most people, discomfort from TMD will eventually go away whether treated or not. Simple self-care practices, such as exercising to reduce teeth-clenching caused by stress, can be effective in easing TMD symptoms.
If more treatment is needed, it should be conservative and reversible. Avoid, if at all possible, treatments that cause permanent changes in the bite or jaw. If irreversible treatments are recommended, be sure to get a reliable second opinion.
Many practitioners, especially dentists, are familiar with the conservative treatment of TMD.
Call us to discuss your jaw joint disorder treatment with one of our best dentist at Bright Smile.
To book for an appointment, please call 04-3449775 or visit our website at www.brightsmile.ae.
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