TMJ is the temporomandibular joint, namely the joint that connects your jawbone to your skull. This joint controls your jaw movements, such as chewing, speaking, and yawning. The temporomandibular joint is also commonly referred to as the TMJ, while TMD stands for temporomandibular disorder.
What Are the Causes and Symptoms of TMD?
The causes of TMD can be related to grinding or clenching of the teeth, clenching of the jaw, stress, jaw injury, tooth loss, arthritis, sleep bruxism, rheumatoid arthritis, poor posture, misalignment, ear infection, sinus issues, etc.
Patients experiencing TMD symptoms often report headaches, jaw pain, and ear aches. In some cases, patients may also experience difficulty chewing, ringing in the ears, dizziness, and earaches. These symptoms are often the result of teeth grinding, which can wear down teeth and cause cracks and chips.
How Is TMD Diagnosed?
TMJ disorders can be diagnosed through a number of methods. A thorough dental exam, medical history review, and diagnostic imaging, like digital X-rays, can help pinpoint the source of your pain.
Temporomandibular joint and muscle disorders (TMD) affect more than just the joints. The TMJs, located just in front of the ears, are also related to the jaw muscles, the surrounding bone, and even the upper neck.
What Are My Treatment Options for TMJ/TMD?
If TMJ pain is affecting the quality of your life and you’d like to explore treatment options, here are a few that are available:
Medication: There are many over-the-counter and prescription medications that can help reduce pain, inflammation, and muscle spasms associated with TMD. Some of these medications include mouth rinses, topical creams, anti-inflammatory pills, and prescription muscle relaxants.
Splints: Splints can be worn over your teeth to help stabilize them to prevent grinding or clenching.
Bite Guards: These are worn over the teeth to prevent grinding or clenching and are especially helpful at night.
Stress Management: Stress is often a trigger for TMJ pain. Learning to manage stress can help ease TMD symptoms. Methods of stress management may include exercise, yoga, meditation, or counseling.
Physical Therapy: Physical therapy can especially help if TMJ pain is caused by arthritis.
Recovery From TMJ Surgery
Before getting TMJ surgery, patients should prepare for a few weeks of recovery. The recovery process will vary from patient to patient, but in general, patients should expect the following:
- Pain and swelling
- Difficulty opening the mouth
- Difficulty chewing
- Difficulty talking
To find out more about the dental services we offer at College Family Dentistry, call (225) 926-4640 or schedule a consultation online. You can also visit Dentist in Baton Rouge, LA at 4616 Concord Avenue, Baton Rouge, LA 70808.