The temporomandibular joint or TMJ connects the mandible (lower jaw) to the temporal bone (the bone at the side of the head). The flexibility of these joints enables a person to move his jaw up and down smoothly. During this movement, the rounded ends of the lower jaw, called condyles, glide along with the joint socket of the temporal bone. For its smooth movement, a soft disc lies between the condyle and the temporal bone and absorbs shocks to the jaw joint from chewing and other movements.
What are TMJ Disorders?
Temporomandibular joint disorders are conditions that induce pain and dysfunction in the jaw joint and the chewing muscles that control the up and down jaw movement. A person suffering may experience any of the following:
- Myofascial pain involves discomfort or pain in the muscles that control jaw function.
- Internal derangement of the joint involves a displaced disc, dislocated jaw, or injury to the condyle.
- Arthritis refers to a group of degenerative/ inflammatory joint disorders that can affect the temporomandibular joint.
How are TMJ disorders treated?
The majority of TMJ disorders reduce with time and ultimately disappear. However, in some instances, the symptoms may continue or reoccur from time to time. Some of the ways to treat TMJ disorders are:
Physical exercises and lifestyle changes
Most of the TMJ disorders cases can be fixed by simple physical activities and small lifestyle changes. One should quit the following habits:
- Do not chew gum
- Consume soft foods until the symptoms recede
- Avoid grinding and clenching of teeth.
Botox injections are used to treat chronic TMJ disorders. Botox is injected into the facial muscles to keep them relaxed and alleviate pain. These injections also treat headaches caused due to teeth grinding, clenching, and stress.
An oral appliance can be made to wear while sleeping, or during the day, to alleviate the pressure on the TMJ from bruxing.
Surgery is advised very rarely, only when TMD's cause is actual harm to the joint or the muscles surrounding it. In such severe cases, the joint is replaced.
Historic Hyde Park Dentistry has been transforming smiles for Decades. Dr. Lori, along with her team, uses state-of-the-art technology to dental problems and reconstruct malaligned teeth to provide aesthetic and healthy smiles. For inquiries & appointments, please reach out to us at 813-253-3041. You can also visit our office at 612 West De Leon Street, in Tampa, FL 33606.