What is TMJ?
The temporomandibular joints, called TMJ, are the joints and jaw muscles that let you move your jaw up and down and side to side, so you can talk, chew, and yawn. Any problem that prevents this complex system of muscles, ligaments, discs and bones from working properly may result in a painful TMJ disorder.
What Causes TMJ?
Possible causes of TMJ disorders include: arthritis, grinding or clenching your teeth, dislocation, injury, Stress, and tooth and jaw alignment.
How do you treat TMJ?
Diagnosis is an important step before treatment. Part of the dental examination includes checking the joints and muscles for tenderness, clicking, popping or difficulty moving. Your dentist may take full face X-rays so he can view your jaws, temporomandibular joints, and teeth to rule out other problems. He may need to do other tests, like an MRI or a CT Scan. The MRI can show if the TMJ disc is in the proper position as your jaw moves. A CT scan shows the bone detail of the joint.
If necessary for your symptoms, the following treatments may be advised:
- exercises to strengthen your jaw muscles.
- medications (muscle relaxants, analgesics, anti-anxiety drugs or anti-inflammatory)
- a night guard or bite plate to decrease clenching or grinding of teeth.
- adjusting or reshaping some teeth.
- orthodontic treatment.
You may get referred to an oral surgeon for further care and treatment. You may also see an orthodontist to ensure your teeth, muscles, and joints work like they should. Your dentist can suggest the most appropriate therapy based on the suspected cause.