A TMJ disorder has various causes and may be treated by surgical or nonsurgical methods. A TMJ disorder is when moving the temporomandibular joint causes pain in the joint and muscles that control jaw movement. It can present as painful clicking and popping sounds, it can feel like the jaw is locked up, uncomfortable swelling around the jaw joint and can cause headaches.
An exact cause is difficult to determine. It could be caused by certain forms of arthritis, jaw dislocation or another injury, genetics, low-level infections and certain dental procedures. Some dental problems such as crooked teeth, improper bite or gum disease can also lead to a TMJ disorder.
Relief from TMJ and TMD disorders can be obtained from simple changes in a person’s sleeping and eating habits, in most cases. Some self-care practices include eating soft food, avoiding extreme jaw movement and applying ice or moist heat to the affected area. Ibuprofen helps ease pain and swelling in the joint, but if the pain persists, prescription muscle relaxants and anti-inflammatory medication may be required. A dentist prescribed night guard will prevent the grinding of teeth during sleep and when used in conjunction with other biofeedback and relaxation techniques, it can be another TMJ treatment.
In cases where probable cause is a dental condition, such as an improper bite or a cracked tooth, simply fixing the underlying cause will alleviate the symptoms of a TMJ disorder. In more serious situations, surgery may be required.
Treatments for TMJ and TMD disorder can range anywhere from relieving stress to surgery, and even though reversible treatments are the best starting point, talking with a dentist could prevent a minor case from getting worse.
If you are experiencing jaw pain, talk with Dr. Warden at Westerville Smiles to see which TMJ treatments could work for you.