The TMJ or Temporomandibular Joint is a synovial joint that connects the jaw to the skull. These two joints are located just in front of each ear. The movements allowed are side to side, up and down, as well as protrusion and retrusion. This joint along with its attached muscles, allows movements needed for speaking, chewing, and making facial expressions.
TMJ syndrome is characterized by a collection of symptoms that is all related to major damage to this joint. You have TMJ syndrome or Temporomandibular Disorder if you are currently experiencing the following symptoms.
Extremely painful headaches
Jaw pain or tenderness of the jaw
Ringing of the ears (Tinnitus)
Locking of the jaw
Clicking or popping jaw sounds when opened or closed
Swelling of the jaw area
A hollow feeling around the jaw
Neck and shoulder pains
Biting or chewing difficulty or discomfort
These symptoms can emerge from various causes that can directly affect the dental health of a person. There are many reasons for acquiring the TMJ syndrome. Here are some of those probable reasons.
1. A severe bump in the head can definitely be one of the causes for this condition. This bump especially if it is located at the side of the face can dislocate the jaw and greatly affect the temporomandibular joint.
2. Another cause of the TMJ syndrome may be genetic reasons. If there is an innate flaw in the composition of the jaw TMJ might emerge.
3. Excessive pressure applied on the jaw through overly grinding the teeth and excessive chewing. Stress can be generated from the above-mentioned actions that can eventually result to the joint disorder.
4. Furthermore, misaligned teeth can also cause TMJ because of the imbalance that if teeth may produce. If there is an imbalance in the arrangement of the teeth, it may affect the performance of the jaw.
Knowing the major causes as well as the symptoms of this disease, how can we now treat this condition? This is where neuromuscular dentistry comes in. It is the science of studying the peripheral components of the gums and teeth such as a dental muscles and nerves. These nerves connect the teeth to the brain.
The treatment begins with neuromuscular testing to see if the muscles around and beneath the jaw or working properly. The major cause of the condition is the misalignment of the jaw. Therefore, the doctor will test the different positions of the jaw by moving it toward different directions. The bite will also be tested. If it happens that the lower jaw is not properly connected to the upper jaw then subsequent treatment will be made.
Here are some of the possible treatments that the dentist can apply for TMJ syndrome
Realigning the Teeth
Braces can be of use here. It will be easier for the teeth to realign themselves if they receive support from outside forces such as dental retainers.
Repositioning and Recreating Some of the Damaged Dentures
This will help the jaw adjust to the right position because of the filled spaces and gaps that the recreation will produce.
Pain can occur from various sources so a combination of medications may be needed. Some examples of the different types of medicines used for pain management are:
Anti-Inflammatories: Ibuprofen, Naproxen
Analgesics: Aspirin or Tylenol
Muscle Relaxants: Soma, Baclofen
Nerve Pain Medications: Neurontin
Splints are designed to fit over the teeth. They prevent the upper and lower teeth from coming together. These devices take pressure off the jaw joints and muscles so they can relax and heal.
If TMJ syndrome is properly treated, the symptoms will definitely be a cured as well and the patient will not have to worry about limiting himself because of the various symptoms that accompanies the condition.
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