The temporomandibular joint, also called TMJ, is a joint that connects the lower jaw to the skull. Found on both sides of the head, it allows you to eat food, open your mouth to yawn and talk, and enables other movements. TMJ disorders refer to health conditions that affect the joint. If you need help with TMJ Dundalk, there are clinics that offer specialized treatments. Below are some aspects worth knowing.
Symptoms of TMJ disorders
The severity of the condition determines the symptoms of TMJ disorders. Patients often have pain that extends to the face or neck, a clicking sound when they open and close their mouth, reduced jaw movements, and locking of the jaw. Other signs of the condition include tinnitus, headaches, dental issues, and malocclusion.
A Look at self-care practices
You can choose to see your dentist or regular pain expert to get a diagnosis for TMJ disorders. Besides a physical exam, your dentist may also ask for imaging tests, including MRIs and X-rays. The first line of treatment is to try self-care practices, which include using ice packs to reduce immediate swelling and inflammation, eating soft-to-chew foods, and avoiding certain jaw movements. The dentist may also recommend jaw-stretching exercises to help improve the range of motion.
It is common for dentists to prescribe medications that will help reduce pain. Common medications used for TMJ disorders include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), muscle relaxers, and corticosteroids. Physical therapy, including cooling therapy, heat therapy, acupuncture, and resistance exercises, is also suggested. If you have a TMJ disorder due to stress, they may also recommend ways to manage stress better. In case a patient has orthodontic concerns, corrective dental treatments can also help. A procedure called arthrocentesis is also used for TMJ disorders to remove debris and fluid from the affected joint. If nothing else works, surgery may be necessary.
What causes TMJ disorders?
Trauma to the jaw is often considered one of the foremost reasons for TMJ disorders. Typical reasons also include arthritis, erosion of the joint, teeth grinding, and growth disorders. Risk factors include female hormones, poor posture, extreme stress, and joint hypermobility. It is often hard to determine what may have caused TMJ disorders in some patients.
In many cases, TMJ symptoms go away with time, but if you have had swelling, pain, and discomfort for over a week, schedule an appointment immediately. Call a clinic in Dundalk right away to find more.