Temporomandibular Joint Disorder: All You Need To Know
The temporomandibular joint is an incredibly complex joint that allows us to speak, chew, swallow, and even yawn easily. A problem in these joints can cause severe pain throughout the body, especially around the jaw area. While TMJ does not cause significant problems, it does mean that you may need to adapt your lifestyle slightly. This is because TMJ can be caused by dental malocclusion, which happens when the teeth do not meet correctly or gaps between them. Therefore this disorder causes a lot of people with all kinds of dental issues to worry about their appearance.
If you are one of the many people that suffer from temporomandibular joint disorder, it is crucial to speak with a dentist specializing in treating TMJ in Dundalk. The symptoms will not go away on their own and could worsen if left untreated.
Many of the symptoms you experience if you do have the temporomandibular joint disorder are not exclusive to this condition. Some common symptoms include:
- Headaches in the jaw, neck, and even behind the eyes
- Earache at times
- A feeling of fullness in the ear which could be dulled by chewing
- Neck pain and stiffness
- Worsening of symptoms when you chew
However, TMJ is much more than just a collection of the above. One symptom that many sufferers experience is condyle inhibition or condylar resorption (CIR). It happens when the articular disc suddenly moves and the condyle – the bony part of the jaw – penetrates through. We can experience pain and discomfort if this happens, especially when chewing.
So what are the causes of the temporomandibular joint disorder? The exact cause is not known, but certain factors make us more susceptible. These include:
- Bruxism, which is teeth grinding
- Oversleeping or sleeping in an awkward position
- Dislocation of the jaw
- Trauma to the jaw area that has not healed properly
- A genetic predisposition to develop TMJ problems
Usually conservative treatment is used to treat TMJ. This may include splint therapy, where the dentist makes a customized oral appliance that fits your upper and lower teeth with your comfort in mind. The device helps keep the jaw joint open, so it does not cause any pressure or pain when functioning normally. A soft diet may be advised for people experiencing a lot of pain. It is also advisable to stay away from chewing gum and stop any teeth grinding, which could cause further discomfort.
In severe cases, surgery may be necessary if conservative treatment does not work. Surgery involves the dentist placing implants in the area around the joint to help stabilize it so that you can avoid experiencing condyle inhibition again in the future.
To summarize, TMJ is a condition that affects the temporomandibular jaw, causing severe pain, mainly affecting the jaw area. It comes with headaches around the jaw area, earache, neck stiffness and pain, and a feeling of fullness in the ear. Most people develop TMJ due to bruxism, genetic predisposition, jaw dislocation, and trauma to the jaw. Treatment includes conservative methods such as splint therapy, but you may need surgery for extreme cases.