Temporomandibular Joint Syndrome - or
TMJ as it is more commonly known - is an all-too-frequent oral affliction
that affects millions of people around the world. It is a disorder of
both the jaw joints and surrounding muscles that manifests itself in a
variety of annoying and/or painful symptoms that include: localized jaw
pain, clicking jaws, locked jaws, earaches, headaches, and hindered movement
while chewing, yawning or speaking. In general, TMJ is caused by a malfunction
- whether damaged or injured - in the connection between the temporomandibular
joint and the mandible (lower jaw) to the temporal bone located at the
base of the skull. It is a condition that can be challenging to live with
and can go undiagnosed if you do not know what signs to look for.
The conditions of TMJ are quite frequently misunderstood by dental patients
simply because causes and symptoms have the potential to be so varied.
The causes of TMJ range from arthritis and jaw damage to bruxism (the
grinding of teeth) and even chewing gum. Though general damage to the
jaw is often the underlying factor, each of the different causes will
determine how you can combat your discomfort. The best way to avoid complications
from TMJ is to take action as soon as possible and work towards treating
the problem. Because TMJ comes in many different forms no two cases can
expect the same results from treatment. Below, we have outlined a list
of the most common treatments for TMJ beginning with the least invasive
and ending with the most drastic treatments for extreme cases.
1. Home Remedies
Home remedies are the easiest way of combating your TMJ symptoms, but they
will not necessarily guarantee results. These remedies can help alleviate
pain and make a difference in mild cases, but they may not yield permanent
results. Home remedies include: ice packs, anti-inflammatory drugs, and
jaw and neck massages.
2. Mouth Guards
This remedy requires a trip to the dentist, but it can be well worth the
trip. Getting a custom-made mouth guard can protect your mouth, teeth,
and jaw by preventing grinding and helping the overall alignment of your
teeth. It should be noted that mouth guards are especially effective for
those whose TMJ is triggered by bruxism, but is certainly worth exploring
if you aren't sure what has triggered your symptoms.
3. Corrective Dental Work
Though this is not the most drastic of preventative measures this can be
a bit more costly. As such, it is a procedure that should only be undergone
with the express recommendation of your dentist when all other options
have proven to be ineffective.
Yes, you read that correctly. The same Botox injections that are used for
cosmetic procedures are now one of the newer - and more controversial
- techniques for TMJ treatment. Botox injections have become a non-invasive
solution to the extreme jaw muscle tension associated with TMJ due to
their muscle-paralyzing properties. The injection is generally painless
and effectively relieves muscle tension by relaxing the muscles surrounding
the temporomandibular joint. Though this treatment has been proven to
get results they are not necessarily permanent and may require continued
Corrective surgery is the most drastic measure to correct TMJ and is an
absolute last resort. Again, this plan of action will be recommended by
your dentist or orthodontist
If you believe you may have TMJ, but have gone undiagnosed, consider making
an appointment with us. Home remedies may not necessarily improve your
situation and our staff is ready to help you fight the adverse affects
of this condition. TMJ can become a serious problem that inhibits your
life with discomfort and pain. Do not delay in taking action.
Contact us today!