The vital joint in your face which helps in the free jaw movement from up and down, side to side and also helps in primary functions like chewing, talking and yawning is driven by temporomandibular joint. Your jaw is connected to the temporal skull bones through a hinge and is located on either side of your ear. Many dental cares provides an exclusive service to treat this TMJ disorder which provides an effective treatment method by evaluating your condition and offers the appropriate course of treatment methods.
Causes and Symptoms
The most common cause for this joint disorder is any accidental trauma caused to your skull bones or jaw. Other causes are severe teeth grinding which in turn puts great pressure on your joint, disc misplacement of the joint or arthritis in that particular joint and stress.
- The initial symptom occurs when you feel a moderate pain while wide opening your mouth.
- Jaws may get into a lock position when you are opening or closing your mouth.
- Swelling on any one side of your face.
- Tenderness around the joint area like the neck, shoulders, and jaw joint area.
- Other less common symptoms are ringing in the ears, a condition known as tinnitus, headaches, dizziness, earaches and hearing problem and upper shoulder pains.
Diagnosis and Treatment
To eliminate other possible conditions like sinus problems, tooth decay or any known gum disease which also causes the similar symptoms, your doctor first analysis your full medical history and perform a physical exam. The dentist may apply slight pressure to the specific joint muscles and check for any pain or tenderness. The dentist may also ask the patient to open and close the mouth gently or wide open the mouth and closely monitor if there are any pop or grating sounds. The dentist will check your bite and see if the facial muscles are aligned correctly and it does not lock when you open or close your mouth.
- X-rays are the first recommended option in several cases which involves the full face X-rays which gives a full view of your temporomandibular joints, jaws and teeth to determine the underlying problem and also to detect any other issues.
- If X-rays do not detect any specific damage, the dentist may further recommend additional scan to get the bony details of the joints. For this, a CT scan provides the bony details.
- MRI, magnetic resonance imaging scan shows if the TMJ disc is properly aligned as you move your jaw.
After diagnosing through these physical and imaging screens, you will be referred to an orthodontist. An orthodontist is a surgeon who is specialized in surgery around entire face and jaw area. If you visit the website, you will find them as a pioneer in the oral surgery which provides many world-class surgeons who have high credentials and experience.
However, there are home treatment methods which can be practiced before opting for a surgical procedure. Your dentist will recommend you to try the following method at home to check it subsides with these options.
- Over the counter medications like ibuprofen or naproxen which are nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs helps to relieve muscle pain and swelling.
- Follow simple jaw stretches under the guidance of your dentist or physical therapist and apply a cold pack and warm towel for 5 to 10 minutes before and after the stretching exercise respectively.
- Avoid crunchy foods and instead opt-in for soft food. Eating soft foods like mashed potatoes, soup, scrambled eggs, yogurt, and cooked fruits and vegetables reduces the strain in your jaw muscles.
- Avoiding extreme jaw movements like yawning or chewing and thus practicing only a minimal jaw movement in a gentle and slow pace.
- Practicing good facial posture to reduce facial pain must be followed like by avoiding your chin to rest on your hand and preventing to hold your phone between your ear and shoulder.
- To relieve the pressure on your jaw, slightly distance your teeth apart as often as you can. Also, placing your tongue in between the teeth will prevent you from grinding of your teeth during the daytime.
Even after practicing the above home remedies if you still experience the pain and discomfort, then your dentist will conduct one or more treatment plans to eradicate this condition.
- To balance the biting surfaces or to correct a bite problem, your dentist may replace missing teeth with a crown, bridges or braces in some cases.
- Other treatments like “Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS)” in which it uses low electrical currents in the facial muscles and jaw joint to ease the pain and give those muscles a relaxing effect.
- Three surgical procedures are depending upon the problem these are performed in a dental office. Visit their website to take a look at their team of experts and their credentials who perform these surgical procedures with excellent quality. Arthrocentesis, Arthroscopy and open-joint surgery are the three main surgery performed for this condition.
- General anesthesia will be given before performing any of these procedures. Of these, the open-joint surgery requires a longer recovery time as there is a high possibility of scarring and nerve injury. Your dentist will go for this procedure only when your bony structures are wearing down in your jaw joint, or you have tumors around the joint or you jaw contains several bone chips.
- Arthrocentesis is a small procedure in which after giving general anesthesia your dentist will insert special tools and needles to get rid of the damaged tissue and correct your locked jaws. This procedure provides a faster recovery rate.
- Arthroscopy uses a special device which has a tiny lens and a light fixed on it. Through the lens, the dentist will get a clear view of your inside joint area, and he removes any inflamed tissue and also realign any disc or joint. This requires short recovery time as it is a minimally invasive procedure.