The TMJ also called The temporomandibular joint, is one of the most complex joints in the human body. In this blog, our Winnipeg dentists discuss the three main kinds of TMJ disorders (TMD), including their symptoms, and the treatment options available.
What is TMJ Disorder?
The TMJ is the joint connecting the temporal bones of your skull (located just below your temple, in front of your ear) to your jaw. You use this hinge to do everything from moving your jaw to eating, talking – even breathing.
Temporomandibular joint disorders (TMD) develop when there is a problem with your facial and jaw muscles. You will start to feel pain in the area and if the disorder becomes more severe you might not be able to move your jaw.
What are the Types of TMJ Disorders?
These are the three main types of TMJ disorders:
Joint Degenerative Disorders
Most often known as osteoarthritis, this joint degenerative disorder occurs when the cartilage holding the round ends of the two bones in your jaw together wears away or breaks.
Cartilage absorbs shocks during movement and lets your bones glide easily over each other. When the cartilage erodes, you will experience swelling and pain, and you might be unable to move your jaw.
Also called myofascial pain, muscle disorders consist of discomfort and pain in all the muscles controlling the movement of your jaw. You could also experience pain in your jaw muscles, shoulders, and neck.
Joint Derangement Disorders
A soft, small disc located between the temporal bone and the condyle makes the opening and closing of the jaw smooth and easy. This disc is also important as it absorbs shocks to the jaw joint that happen during movement.
When an individual has a joint derangement disorder, the inner workings of the jaw are disrupted or unbalanced due to a dislocated disc or damaged bone.
This displaced disc causes internal derangement of the temporomandibular joint. Currently, there is no surgical solution to this problem.
What are the Symptoms of TMJ Disorders?
With every type of TMJ Disorder, you’ll probably experience pain in your face and jaw. The area around your ears could hurt, and you’ll feel an ache when you open your mouth to eat or talk.
Other symptoms can include:
- Headaches, dizziness, or pain in your temples
- Additional pain in your neck and/or shoulders
- Facial bruising or swelling
- Grinding, clicking, or popping sounds when you open your jaw
- Problems opening, closing, or clenching your jaw
When Should I Visit My Dentist for TMJ Treatment?
If at-home remedies such as chewing gum, carefully massaging your neck and jaw muscles, avoiding stress, taking over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) have not worked, you should schedule an appointment with your dentist.
Your dentist will look at your dental history, implement a comprehensive examination of your bite and jaw, and take X-rays to evaluate before officially diagnosing you with a TMJ Disorder. They could recommend the following treatments:
- Physical Therapy
- Prescription medications
- TMJ therapy
- Dental splints
- Oral Surgery
Your dentist should be able to help you manage your TMJ Disorder with a combination of home remedies and attentive dental care.