What Is TMJ?
TMJ stands for temporomandibular joint. It is the connecting ligament that joins the upper and the lower jaw. It acts as the hinge that holds the jaw to the bones of the skull. TMJ is responsible for the movements of the mouth, up and down. It is this joint that allows for significant mouth functions like talking, yawning, eating, among others. The joint is located in front of the ears.
When the joint is not functioning correctly, it results in a disorder that inhibits the basic functions of the mouth. The disorder is known as temporomandibular disorder (TMD). Such problems in the joint require one to visit a TMJ specialist near them, for help. Technically some of the abnormalities in this joint do not stay on for too long. The discomfort should disappear within a few days. If this does not happen, then it is fit to seek jaw pain treatment in Waco, TX.
What Causes TMD?
Anyone can suffer from TMD. Some of the causes include:
- An injury – this is particularly common among sportspersons and athletes. If you have an accident that affected your face and impacted your head, you may require TMJ headache treatment.
- Teeth grinding – also referred to as bruxism. It is a situation where patients grind their teeth excessively, especially during the night. Teeth grinding puts too much pressure on the joint, which then causes a strain on the facial muscles.
- Movement of the joint disc – In some cases, the disc that is the soft cushion between the socket of the joint and the ball can move. This misplacement of the disc can cause pain and discomfort to the TMJ. You would require the best dentist in Waco, TX, to correct the misplacement and alleviate the pain from the joint.
- Stress – High levels of stress cause the facial muscles to constrict. It also happens that the teeth clench together during such times while the jaw muscles tighten up. When the constriction is excessive, the facial muscles may feel the impact, leading to joint disorders.
- Arthritis – when this disease strikes in the joint, TMD might occur.
What Are the Symptoms Of TMD?
There are different ways to know whether or not your connective joint is not functioning properly, including the following:
- Pain and tenderness – the area right in front of the ears, is where the joint is located. If any of the regions is painful, you need to talk to your dentist. In some cases, the pain can spread to the ears, with some patients reporting ringing in their ears. As the disorder worsens, patients may experience pain in other areas, including headaches, toothaches, pain in shoulders, stiff neck, and pain when moving the mouth.
- Difficulty in basic functions of the mouth – if you are having a hard time putting your mouth to use, it means that there is a problem. You should not experience any discomfort when you eat, yawn, bite, or even talk. The pain indicates an anomaly on the TMJ.
- Locked jaw – this happens with the severe cases of TMD. When you open your mouth, it should not be stuck in the open position. If this is the case, then you have a disordered joint. Some other situations include difficulty closing the mouth or opening it.
- Popping sounds in your joint – moving your upper and lower jaw should not produce noises unless something is not right. TMD displays popping and crating sounds when the lower and upper jaws are moved.
- Swelling – the body’s immune system is quick to respond to disorders with inflammation. You can expect the same with TMD. Usually, the side with the problematic joint will swell while causing pain.
How is TMD Treated?
TMJ treatment works as per the cause of the disorder. The dentist will examine the underlying causes of your disorder, before prescribing one or more of the following treatments:
- Allowing the injury to heal – if you had an accident that caused the pain, allowing healing is the best way to treat TMD.
- Wearing a mouthguard – it helps prevent teeth grinding, especially at night. Besides, it is recommended for athletes for sporting activities.
- Over-the-counter drugs – usually to help deal with the pain and inflammation.
- Lifestyle changes – this includes avoiding hard foods and controlling teeth grinding.