Temporomandibular disorders occur in a part of your face called the temporomandibular joint. Generally, problems with jaw or lower facial muscle movement are associated with temporomandibular disorders.
The temporomandibular joint is what connects your jaw to your skull. “Mandibular” means a part of the jaw. “Temporo” refers to the temporal bones of the skull that the joint attaches to.
The joint is shaped this way to allow the jaw to move up and down, and also from side to side. The joints allow all jaw movements that allow you to chew, talk, and open your mouth wide for yawning.
Temporomandibular joint disorder is marked by pain and discomfort in your jaw or face. Having this disorder can make it difficult for you to chew, bite, or open your mouth wide. Often the pain in the jaw area spread to other parts of your body, like behind the ears, neck or shoulders. TMD can affect just one side of your face or both.
The pain resulting from TMD can be severe enough to disrupt daily functions. Some patients experience only temporary pain, while others feel aches for years. Women are more likely to suffer from TMD compared to main. The most common age range for getting TMD is between the ages of 20 and 40.
Scientists don’t yet know what exactly causes TMD. It could possibly arise from problems with the bones of the joint or the muscles attached to it.
Here are some of the main suspected causes of TMD:
· Injury to the temporomandibular joint or the jaw
· Damage or injury to the muscles of the jaw, head, or neck
· Possibly resulting from heavy blows to the head
· The cushioning muscle or the disc in the ball and socket of the joint has moved
· Constant teeth grinding, clenching, or similar movement that puts excess pressure on the joint
· Arthritis of the temporomandibular joint
Even if dentists don’t know what causes TMD, the problem can be definitively identified with modern diagnostic tools.
The correct abbreviation for temporomandibular disorder is TMD, not TMJ as some call it. Dentists can usually tell a person has TMD if the person experiences the following symptoms:
· Inability or pain when trying to open the mouth wide, or yawn
· Tenderness or pain in part of the face, neck, or shoulders when trying to talk, chew or open the mouth wide
· Pain in the jaw joint area, neck, shoulders, face, or around the ear
· Jaw locking or getting stuck as you open or close your mouth
· Hearing noises, sometimes accompanied by pain, when trying to open or close your mouth. You may hear popping, clicking, or grating noises.
· Chewing trouble
· Biting is uncomfortable in the sense you don’t feel your upper and lower jaws clamp together
· Sides of your face feel tired or fatigued
· Swelling along your jawline or face
The above are primary symptoms. TMD is also associated with the following secondary symptoms:
· Neck aches
· Upper shoulder pain
· Hearing problems
· Constant ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
You must report any of the above problems to a dentist immediately. TMD is possibly the result of symptoms as listed above. Your primary care doctor or dentist would perform a thorough examination to determine the jaw joint is the problem.
The symptoms associated with TMD are also associated with other common diseases like arthritis, gum disease, sinus infections, and even tooth decay. Therefore, a dentist in Turkey would perform a physical exam to diagnose a problem with your temporomandibular joint.
The physical examination involved careful checking of the jaw joint. The dentist will look for pain or tenderness in this area. He or she would also listen for popping or clicking noises in this area. The dentist in Turkey would also check for potential problems with your bite and facial muscles. You would be asked to open and close your mouth several times.
The physical exam involves making sure your jaw works normally without locking or causing abnormal bite. Your dentist in Turkey would also ask about your medical history. You may be quizzed on bad habits like teeth grinding.
After the manual examination, the dentist in turkey would take a full-face X-ray to examine your jaw structure and teeth. If necessary, the dentist would request other tests like an MRI or CT scans. These scans allow the dentist to view your jawbone and joints in detail. These tests would be necessary to rule out other problems.
Your dentist may recommend other treatments to prevent worsening of TMB. Surgery is sometimes the last option when nothing else works. Surgical alterations are permanent and cannot be undone later.
There are several different surgical options for TMD. Here’s a brief overview:
· Arthrocentesis — This is a minor surgical procedure most commonly performed when your jaws are locked. You would need to be sedated to undergo this procedure. The surgeon uses specialized tools to dislodge the disc in the jaw joint and remove damaged tissue. It would unlock the jaw and return it to normal functioning.
· Arthroscopy — This is a surgery of the temporomandibular joint performed using a tool called an arthroscope. The surgeon makes a small cut near the ear to insert this tool. It has a camera that allows the doctors to see inside. An arthroscopy allows the surgeon to examine the jaw and fix any alignment issues. This is considered a minimally invasive surgery.
· Open-Joint Surgery — This is recommended if an arthroscopy is not possible. During this procedure, the surgeon opens the entire area around the jaw joint to get a full view. It’s usually performed if there are tumors near the temporomandibular joint, if the joint bone is wearing down, or if there are bone chips in this area. This is a major surgery that requires a longer time to heal.
· Night Guards or a splint to prevent teeth clenching and grinding during sleep
· Teeth guards to correct your bite
· Dental implants to replace missing teeth and correct the bite, and in turn reduce pressure on the temporomandibular joint
· Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) for pain relief and to relax the jaw joint
· Applying heat from ultrasounds to reduce soreness, swelling, and improve the movement of the temporomandibular joint
Here are several recommended at-home remedies you can try to relieve symptoms of TMD:
· Take over-the-counter pain relief medications like ibuprofen and naproxen
· Applying cold packs or heat packs to the jaw joint
· Avoiding moving the jaw too much that might exacerbate pain
· Stop resting your chin on your hand or hold your phone between your shoulder and ear. These postures put unnecessary strain on the temporomandibular joint.
· Adopting good posture and keeping your teeth slightly apart at all times to relieve pressure on the jaw joint.
· Learning to control clenching and grinding teeth at night using techniques like placing your tongue between your teeth
· Practicing relaxation techniques to loosen up your jaw
· Reducing stress that leads to excessive jaw clenching or teeth grinding
Home remedies don’t “cure” TMD. These can only help you relieve or manage pain. You may need surgical options to permanently correct physical problems with your temporomandibular joint.