TMJ is a condition that affects the temporal bones of your skull, which meet in front of the ear. The disorder affects approximately 33 percent of individuals, according to some studies. Symptoms of the condition can vary between patients. But if you experience pain, you should see a dentist immediately.
Here are some of the facts you need to know about TMJ disorder.
Temporomandibular Joint Disorder
TMJ may refer to a wide range of conditions that affect the temporal bone. It is primarily an issue that may compromise the function of the jaw movement. You may require a dentistry exam before you can get treatment.
However, conditions such as arthritis and trauma can increase the risk of TMJ. A misalignment of the jaw and teeth could also create problems with the function of the joints and muscles. It can make chewing, biting, and talking painful.
Causes of TMJ may include:
- Injury to the jaw
- Jaw misalignment
- Tooth grinding
TMJ Tests and Diagnosis
If you suspect you have TMJ, a dentistry professional will recommend you undergo tests. The test involves checking the joint for inflammation. Your dentist will check for tenderness or swelling.
After the initial exam, your dentists may propose further tests. That may include X‑ray exams and a CT scan. It is worth noting that dentists will not treat all cases of TMJ. Depending on the symptoms, you could be referred to a physical therapist.
Treatment Options and Procedures
There are cases where the symptoms will disappear without any medical intervention. The treatment also varies widely depending on the severity of the condition.
A dentistry professional may prescribe medication to control the pain. That may include relaxants to relieve the patient of the aches from muscle spasms. You may require anti-depressants to manage stress or insomnia.
Physical Therapy to Manage Pain
A dentistry professional can also treat TMJ through physical therapies. The purpose of these protocols is to enhance the function of the joint and the surrounding muscles. Besides exercises, treatment may involve the application of heat and ultrasound to manage pain.
Counseling and Mental Health Support
Dentists also recognize stress and depression as a factor causing TMJ. Stress can, in turn, worsen bruxism and teeth grinding. A dentist may refer you to a mental health professional. A holistic approach to the condition has long-term benefits for the patient.
Undergoing Extensive Procedures
After diagnosis, your dentist may determine that you require surgical treatment. Some procedures may involve surgery, but your dentist will have to exhaust other treatment options first.
An open-joint surgery is less risky for TMJ compared to other musculoskeletal conditions. However, it is an alternative of last resort and often portends some risks for the patients. It is advisable to go through all the options with a dentistry professional before undergoing the procedure.
Around 78% of Americans had at least one cavity by the time they were 17. Regardless of your age, it is always wise to keep your appointment with your dentist. Your oral health is essential for your overall well-being. If you are looking for the best dental specialists and/or dental services in New Orleans, LA, visit Comfort Smiles Dentistry. We offer every form of dentistry ranging from general dentistry to oral surgery.