TMJ is the abbreviation for the temporomandibular joint, where the lower jaw connects to the skull. TMJ disorder occurs when this joint becomes inflamed, dislocated, or misaligned in some way. This is a relatively common condition that can be treated in a variety of ways. If you have pain or limited range of motion in your jaw, you may be wondering if there is a permanent cure for TMD. Here’s what you need to know about TMJ treatment and prevention.
Signs and Symptoms of TMJ Disorder
If you have TMJ disorder (TMD) you may have one or any combination of the following symptoms:
- Jaw pain. You may feel pain in the temporomandibular joint and throughout your jaw from inflammation. Opening and closing your mouth may be painful.
- Limited range of motion. You may not be able to open your mouth as widely as you are used to.
- Ear pain. TMD pain is often felt in the ear due to the proximity of the ear to the joint.
- Cheek pain. The muscles in your cheeks and face may be sore due to inflammation from TMD.
- Popping or clicking sound when moving your jaw. When the joint is out of alignment it can make a popping or clicking sound as the bones rub together and the tendons and ligaments slide over the bone.
- Headache. TMD often causes headaches, especially in the temple region of the head.
- Difficulty chewing. You may find that chewing is painful and that it is difficult to chew hard foods.
Treatment for TMD Disorder
TMD disorder can be treated in a variety of ways. The following steps are usually recommended in order:
- Home remedies. The first step in treating TMJ disorder is home remedies. Apply ice to the jaw, rest your jaw as much as possible, and try to avoid clenching your jaw or grinding your teeth. Taking an anti-inflammatory pain medication like ibuprofen may help.
- Medical interventions. If the above remedies don’t provide relief in a week or more, the next step is to see your dentist. Your dentist may recommend steroid injections, BOTOXⓇ, prescription anti-inflammatory medication, and wearing a mouthguard or splint.
- Surgery. If none of the above treatments are effective, you may need surgery. The joint can become misaligned, dislocated, or the disk can slip out of place. These situations may require the joint to be surgically reconstructed or reconfigured.
How to Prevent TMJ Disorder from Recurring
The key to permanently treating TMJ disorder is to take steps that will prevent it from coming back. All of the above treatments are only effective if the cause of TMJ disorder is resolved. Whatever has caused the joint to become inflamed or out of alignment must not continue to occur. A one time accident or trauma will most likely not occur again. However, teeth grinding and clenching your jaw will continue to put pressure on the TMD as long as the behavior continues.
Wearing a mouthguard at night can put a stop to teeth grinding and provide shock absorption to lessen the force on your teeth and jaw. If you wear your mouthguard regularly at night, you can most likely prevent TMJ disorder from returning.
You can also change your other daily habits to prevent TMJ disorder. If you constantly chew gum, eat chewy and hard foods, and frequently open your mouth wider than normal, you may find that TMD comes back. Quit or reduce these habits to prevent recurring TMJ disorder.
Manhattan Dental Spa Provides TMJ Treatment
If you’re experiencing symptoms of TMJ disorder, Manhattan Dental Spa can help. When home remedies don’t provide relief, we can offer additional treatments. Surgery is only recommended as a last resort if all other treatments are ineffective. We can also provide you with a custom mouthguard to keep teeth grinding habits from causing TMD to return.