Top Ways to Help Manage Temporomandibular Joint Disorders
What Is Temporomandibular Joint?
The TMJ is a joint that helps in extensive facial movement and connects the jawbone to the skull. The joint is on both sides of a human’s face, just in front of the ears. It makes it possible to open and close your mouth, assisting in movements such as chewing, swallowing, and speaking. However, these joints may develop issues that lead to temporomandibular joint disorders.
What Is Temporomandibular Joint Disorder?
TMJ disorders are conditions that affect the normal functioning of the joints. These abnormalities cause pain around the affected areas. TMJ disorders are said to be caused by a combination of several factors, such as external jaw injury, genetics, displacement of jaw joint disks, the extensive strain of the jaw, arthritis, and habitual grinding of teeth.
Some of the signs and symptoms of TMJ disorders include the following:
- Sensitivity of the teeth without dental problems.
- An abnormal change in the fitting of the lower and upper jaw teeth
- Pain spreads in the eyes and the neck
- A ringing effect in the ears causes discomfort
- Limited mouth motions, which can be painful
- Locking of the joints
- Swelling on the side of the face that is affected
- Clicking sound in the joints when opening or closing the mouth
However, these disorders are treatable. Most TMJ disorder cases are temporary and can be managed with self-care practices. Many professional experts advise that treatment of TMJ disorders should begin with personal protective measures.
Some of the factors that dentists take into consideration before offering TMJ treatment in Bryn Mawr, PA, include:
- The patient’s preferences
- How long the condition lasted
- The medical history and general health
- The intensity of the effects of the condition on the patient
- Other possible solutions, such as therapy
What Are the Treatment Options for TMJ Pain?
Simple self-care practices are recommended as the first treatment option for TMJ disorders to help patients take care of their joints. Some of these home care tips include the following:
- Maintaining the jaw’s resting position to mitigate TMJ pain. Also, avoid wide jaw movements to help the jaw remain relaxed.
- Doing simple jaw exercises to keep the jaw muscles strong and increase mobility.
- Taking note of improper habits such as voluntarily clenching teeth and the jaw.
- Avoiding activities that involve moving your jaw in an extreme way
- Refraining from eating extra hard foods and foods that require prolonged chewing.
In severe cases, experts provide further treatments to help relieve the pain and align the jaws.
- Taking Medications – The health care provider may prescribe anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin to reduce pain and swelling. Muscle relaxant drugs are also prescribed for people who clench their teeth.
- Injections – Pain medication or a local anesthetic is injected into the tender muscles of the face, also referred to as trigger points, to relieve pain.
- Electrical nerve stimulation – This therapy uses low-level electrical currents to soothe and stimulate relief on the jaw bone and muscles.
- Ultra Sound – This is a treatment where the TMJ is subjected to a deep level of medical heat. This significantly reduces pain and improves the movement and functionality of the temporomandibular joint.
- Corrective Dental Treatment – Your cosmetic dentist in Bryn Mawr may offer teeth crowns, braces, and veneers to align the jaw joint and balance the bite muscles.
- Surgery – In severe cases where all other options have been adopted without success, surgery is recommended. A patient is put under anesthesia and undergoes an open joint surgery where the disorder is corrected. However, surgery may take longer to heal and have tissue scarring effects.
Jaw pain may seem trivial, especially if it comes and goes. However, temporal mandibular jaw disorder hinders essential human activities such as speaking and chewing. This means that proper health action, including regular dental care, should be taken to prevent further damage.
Visit your dentist in Bryn Mawr for treatment if you suspect you have a TMJ disorder. They will help you manage the condition and lead a healthy life.