What Are the Treatment Options for TMJ Disorder?

What Are the Treatment Options for TMJ Disorder?

Jun 01, 2022

Although dental care is concerned too much about the health of natural teeth, that is not the only scope of dentistry. Dentists spend time diagnosing and treating other oral problems that are not directly related to the health of your teeth, including TMJ disorder.

What Is TMJ?

It is an acronym for Temporomandibular Joint. TMJ is a joint that connects the jawbone to the skull. When the joint is dysfunctional, it leads to a condition called TMD, that is, Temporomandibular Joint Disorder. The disorder can lead to various oral problems, deteriorating the functionality of the oral cavity.

What Causes TMJ Disorder?

If you ask a TMJ dentist in Holmdel, TMD is a condition incited by many factors. Some of the risk factors that may result in this disorder are:

  1. Dental trauma – an accident or injury can lead to a displacement or misalignment of the discs in the joint. An injury to your tooth or directly to your jawbone can cause TMJ disease.
  2. Bruxism – is a condition of excessive teeth grinding, particularly at night when you sleep. Bruxism places a lot of unnecessary pressure on your jawbone and may be enough to cause TMD.
  3. Stress, anxiety, and depression – although rarely, mental health can lead to TMD. It happens when you excessively clench your face as is typical when you are stressed, anxious, or depressed.
  4. Arthritis – is a condition that affects bones in your body and can damage the joint’s cartilage. Some types of arthritis that can lead to TMJ syndrome are rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.
  5. Erosion – you can suffer from TMJ disorder due to the wearing away of the joint.
  6. Birth defects and growth disorders – sometimes, patients have structural problems with their jawbone due to birth complications or developmental deformities.

How to Know You Have TMJ Syndrome

Before you rush to seek TMJ treatment in Holmdel, you should at least know whether you are suffering from the condition or not. In many cases, TMJ disorder goes undiagnosed, especially when the symptoms resolve on their own. However, some cases require diagnosis and treatment in a dental clinic near you. Some of the pointers for TMD are:

  1. Clicking sounds when you move your jaw
  2. Jaw lock – your mouth gets stuck in the open-mouth position when you yawn or laugh.
  3. Pain when chewing food
  4. Headaches
  5. Ear pain
  6. Swelling and tenderness in your jaw
  7. Facial pain

Different Approaches for Treating TMJ Diseases

At Dipika T. Shah, DDS, LLC, we have found that some symptoms linked to TMJ disorders go away without treatment. However, that should not be your excuse for not visiting your dentist for treatment. The good news about TMJ syndrome is that it is treatable. Some of the treatment approaches for this illness are:

  1. Jaw exercises – physical movements of your jaw can help realign your joint discs and improve their functionality. However, the exercises should be administered by a dental expert, ensuring you do not aggravate the disorder.
  2. Position therapy – your sleeping position can play a role in treating TMJ syndrome. By changing your sleeping position, you can alleviate some pressure on your jawbone. In some cases, our dental team will recommend changing your pillow for better quality.
  3. Bruxism treatment – if your TMJ disorder is a result of teeth grinding, we need to treat bruxism to treat TMD. The common treatment option for teeth grinding is a customized mouthguard to reduce the pressure of teeth grinding on each other.
  4. Muscle relaxants – sometimes, TMJ syndrome occurs due to muscle spasms. Our dental team may prescribe muscle relaxants to use for a few days until your jaw gets better.
  5. Occlusal appliances or mouthguards – you need a mouth protector to protect your jaw and soft tissues, especially if you are involved in high-contact sports.
  6. Arthrocentesis – is a surgical treatment approach for irrigating fluids using minute needles through the joint, removing debris and other byproducts.
  7. Arthrotomy – is an open-joint surgery that corrects structural problems in your joint. This treatment method is specifically for patients who do not get better after trying the more conservative approaches. The surgery focuses on repairing or replacing the problematic joint. Since it is a risky procedure, we only recommend it as the last line of treatment for severe TMJ disorder.
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