TMJ treatment

TMJ is the commonly used short form of temporomandibular joint, which is a disorder that affects joints in the jaw area. TMJ is known to integrate the mandible, which is the lower jaw to the skull’s temporal bone that is situated in front of the ears. These particular facial muscles are known to be essential for chewing properly and when pain is experienced in these areas associated with TMJ, it is because of the dislocation of the connecting cartilage between the skull and the lower jaw. This dislocation creates pressure and strain on the sidelong nerves which creates painful sensations that can reach up to the neck and head and often prop the jaw into a position where it is difficult to open or bite.

Causes of TMJ can be bruxism, which is a consequence of grinding teeth. It cause strain on muscles and induces inflammation that overall results in pain. Teeth misalignment and growth in height of the teeth may cause temporomandibular joint changes, as well as changes in chewing muscles. People who clench their teeth and chews continually are also prone to be a victim of temporomandibular joint disorder as the constant pounding and biting includes continual movement of the jaw that gradually causes pain. Other reasons for the onset of Temporomandibular joint disorder can be because of Osteoarthritis which causes degeneration of joints when people start aging and Rheumatoid arthritis which causes inflammation in joints.

There are helpful ways to find relief from temporomandibular joint disorder. Some of them are stated below:

  • Women are more prone than men to suffering from TMJ syndrome. The good news is that this ailment is rare and the pain often diminishes within a few weeks when the jaw is given time and rest for the joints to recover when there is less chewing and movement involved. Thus, resting the jaw is essential so one should avoid continual pounding habits like chewing and biting. In the case of yawning, avoid opening your mouth wide, prop a fist underneath the chin as this usually helps.
  • Maintain a diet of soft foods, e.g. soup, yogurt, fish, mashed vegetables and fruit as they involve less chewing and movement of the jaw joints.
  • Apply warm contact on the sides of the face or opt for high temperature treatments that contain ultrasound and shortwave diathermy. There are home exercises that one may perform after compressing heat such as lower jaw and opening and closing exercises a few times during the day as recommended by a doctor.
  • Take NSAIDs which are non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines, such as aspirin, acetaminophen and ibuprofen, all which will help find relief for your TMJ pains.
  • Avoid movements like leaning or sleeping on the side which puts pressure on the jaw. Also, do not play instruments that require the jaw, e.g. the violin and flute, as they might put strain in the positioning of the jaw joints and cause further damage.
  • Allow the doctor to install mouth guards known as splints and bite plates which are fitted into the mouth to prevent clenching of the mouth and grinding of teeth, particularly during the night.

The above mentioned TMJ treatments are usually enough to alleviate the discomfort in very short amount of time. However, there may be other underlying reasons because of the pains associated so it is crucial that the TMJs are diagnosed efficiently. Since a number of disorders follow the same pain patterns of TMJ, consulting an orthopedic doctor, for example is usually recommended before a patient starts to take treatment for TMJ. Although some of the points discussed should alleviate pains altogether, professional medical care could be nevertheless undertaken to diagnose the correct onset of the discomfort.

Last updated on Jul 17th, 2010 and filed under Musculoskeletal Disorders. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

Comments are closed