What are TMJ disorders?

The jaw is an amazing part that helps us do important things like eating, talking, and showing how we feel. When this complicated system does not work right, though, it can cause pain and discomfort. Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) disorders are a group of problems that affect the muscles around the jaw joint.

The temporomandibular joint is where the jawbone meets the skull. It lets the mouth move smoothly and easily while you talk, chew, or yawn. TMJ diseases happen when different things affect this joint and cause pain and problems.

Pain in the TMJ. So, TMD refers to a group of diseases where the TMJ and/or the muscles around it hurt and don’t work right. You might not always be able to figure out what’s causing these symptoms, but the good news is that most TMD cases get better on their own with the help of home treatments we will suggest. In fact, it’s best to try all of these temporary fixes first before going on to permanent ones like surgery or bridge building.

The two TMJs, which connect your lower mouth (mandible) to the temporal bone of your skull on either side, are very complicated joints that let you move in three dimensions. The lower jaw and temporal bone connect like a ball and socket, with a disc in the middle to protect the teeth. The bottom jaw moves because of big groups of muscles in the cheeks and temples. A TMD problem can come from any of these areas: the disc, the muscles, or the joint itself. If your jaw hurts or won’t open or close properly, we will carefully check it out to try to find the source of the problem and suggest the best way to fix it.

Why people get TMD? TMJ Joint.Just like any other joint, the TMJ can have orthopaedic issues like swelling, sore muscles, stretched tendons and ligaments, and issues with the discs. Also, TMD is linked to genes, gender (women seem to be more likely to get it), and age. Stress, both physical and mental, can also play a role. Sometimes, jaw pain is caused by a more general illness that causes pain, like fibromyalgia (“fibro” means “connective tissues,” “myo” means “muscle,” and “algia” means “pain”).

What You Need to Know About TMD Clicking Sounds — When people with TMD open or close their mouth, some hear a clicking, popping, or grinding sound coming from the TMJ. Usually, this is because the disc inside the joint has moved. It’s possible that someone next to you can hear it. Studies show that one third of people have jaw joints that click, so clicking by itself is not a very important sign. TMD, on the other hand, would be present if the clicking was followed by pain or limited jaw function, such as the jaw getting “stuck” in an open or closed position.

TMD Pain Cycle in Muscles.

Muscle Pain: This can be felt in the cheeks (masseter muscles) and temples (temporalis muscles), which are home to the two main groups of muscles that close the jaw. People who clench and/or grind their teeth at night are often to blame for stiffness and pain when they wake up in the morning. If this is something you do at night, we can make a nightguard just for you that will help reduce the force that is being put on your teeth. This will let your muscles relax and ease pressure on your jaw joints. Other ways to take care of yourself are talked about below (see Relieving the Pain).

Joint Pain—TMJ arthritis (“arth” means joint, “itis” means inflammation) refers to pain that comes from one or both of the jaw joints. Radiographs, or x-rays, show that some people have TMJs that look like they have arthritis but don’t hurt or don’t work right, while other people have severe pain and problems with their joints that don’t look right on radiographs. Nowhere in the body is there a fix for arthritis, but medicine can sometimes help ease the pain of arthritis.

Taking away the pain

After we look at you, we’ll make a plan for how to treat your illness and ease your pain. Muscles and joints can sometimes feel better after switching to a healthier diet for a short time. Pain and swelling can be eased with ice and/or moist heat. Also, light stretching can help muscles that are in pain. Anti-inflammatory drugs that aren’t steroids and muscle relaxants can also help.

Other Ways to Treat It

For people with severe TMD, more complicated treatments may be needed. These could include braces, tooth restorations like bridgework, or minor surgeries inside the joint, like cortisone injections or lavage (flushing) of the joint. When someone has TMD, they almost never need major surgery. Again, it’s important to try the many safe, changeable treatments that are out there and give them enough time to work, because they almost always do. For starters, you will be checked out here at our dental clinic. Please come in and see us because we don’t want you to be in pain.

Visit Focus Dental in our locations in Naraina Vihar, Max Hospital, Saket and Max Hospital, Shalimar Bagh, for additional information on selecting the best dentist. To schedule an appointment, give 8929265020 a call today.

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