Temporomandibular Joint Disorders

TMDs - Temporomandibular Disorders

Temporomandibular disorder (TMD) is a problem impacting the ‘chewing’ muscles and the joints in between the lower jaw and the base of the skull. Medical professionals in some cases describe the condition as “myofascial pain disorder”.

It’s been approximated that approximately 30% of grownups will experience TMD at some time in their lives.

The condition itself isn’t really generally severe, and the symptoms it can cause– consisting of pain, jaw joint clicking or popping, and problems consuming– typically just last a couple of months before improving.

Nevertheless, these symptoms can substantially lower quality of life, and professional treatment may be needed if they’re severe.

Temporomandibular Joint Disorder Symptoms

TMD can cause:

  • clicking, popping or grating noises as you chew or move your mouth
  • muscle pain around the jaw
  • pain in front of the ear that might spread to the cheek, ear and temple
  • problem opening the mouth– the jaw may feel tight, as if it is stuck, making eating difficult
  • headache or migraine
  • earache or a “buzzing” or obstructed experience in the ear
  • pain in other areas of the body– such as neckache or backache

These symptoms may result in associated symptoms, such as disturbed sleep.

What Causes Temporomandibular Joint Disorders?

Possible causes of TMD include:

  • clenching your jaw or grinding your teeth during sleep (bruxism) – which exhausts the jaw muscles and puts pressure on the joint (often caused by stress).
  • wear and tear of the inside of the jaw joint– generally brought on by osteoarthritis.
  • injury to the jaw joint– for example, after a blow to the face or surgery.
  • stress– some individuals might acquire increased level of sensitivity to pain or stress.
  • unequal bite– for example, when brand-new fillings, dental crowns or dentures are fitted.
  • specific diseases– TMD might be connected with specific illness such as rheumatoid arthritis, gout or fibromyalgia.

However, some people might develop TMD without an obvious cause being discovered.

How is TMD dealt with?

If you have TMD, see your GP or dental professional first for medical diagnosis and to discuss treatment choices.

Generally, non-surgical treatments such as lifestyle changes and self-help physiotherapy-type treatments are tried first.

A small number of people with severe TMD may be described an oral and maxillofacial surgeon to discuss further treatment alternatives.

Lifestyle changes
There are a variety of self-help steps that can assist improve TMD, including:

  • resting the joint by eating soft food and avoiding chewing gum.
  • holding a warm or cold flannel to the jaw for 10-20 minutes, numerous times a day.
  • doing a few gentle jaw-stretching exercises– your health care specialist can recommend proper exercises.
  • preventing opening the joint too broad up until the pain settles.
  • preventing clenching the teeth for long periods of time.
  • massaging the muscles around the joint.
  • relaxation techniques to alleviate stress.
  • not resting your chin on your hand.

Mouth guards
Mouth guards (plastic devices that fit over your teeth) may be valuable if you grind your teeth. These cover the teeth during the night to lower jaw clenching and teeth grinding, and can be made to determine by your dental practitioner.

Painkillers such as paracetamol, ibuprofen or codeine can help alleviate the pain associated with TMD. If these aren’t enough to manage the pain, your doctor might prescribe more powerful medication such as a muscle relaxant or antidepressant.

Steroid injections
If TMD is caused by a disease such as arthritis, a steroid injection into the jaw joint can help in reducing pain and swelling in a joint or the surrounding soft tissue. The majority of people report feeling less pain within the first 24 hours to one week. You might find your pain enhances for a duration of a few weeks to a number of months and, in some cases, the injection solves the pain entirely.

If the above procedures do not help and the source of your symptoms is the temporomandibular joint– rather than the chewing muscles– your expert might recommend a surgical treatment such as arthrocentesis (joint wash-out). Open joint surgery may be thought about in the rare cases where there is a problem within the joint. Overall joint replacement might be recommended for an exceptionally little number of people with severe, lasting symptoms and impaired jaw function. The National Institute for Health and Care Quality (NICE) has actually produced guidelines on this procedure. All joint surgery can have substantial side effects and you need to talk about these with your cosmetic surgeon.

A lot of cases of TMD enhance over time and do not worsen, and many people will not need surgery. In the meantime, symptoms can typically be improved with the treatments discussed above. Although not a severe condition, temporomandibular condition can make a considerable effect on lifestyle.

What type of doctor should I see for TMJ?

Haveing a tmj problem, what sort of dr do i consult with?


The temporo mandibular joint, or TMJ, is as you understand the joint where the lower jaw bone connects to the skull. Temporo mandibular joint pain syndrome is a very common medical issue, and symptoms usually include pain in the joint, particularly with chewing. There may likewise be difficulty opening the mouth large in more severe cases.

TMJ pain syndrome is frequently picked up and examined initially by your dental practitioner. Therefore, this would be a good location to begin for an assessment, if you have not seen any medical professionals yet at all. The reason that dentists are so involved in the treatment of TMJ pain syndrome is that the majority of the causes of the problem related to the mechanics of the teeth and the jaw. For example, over biting in the mouth or misalignment of the teeth of the upper and lower jaw is the most common cause of TMJ pain. Similarly, grinding of the teeth, which usually takes place at night, is also related to TMJ pain. Your dental professional will have the ability to evaluate you for these causes and, if they discover something, they will be able to recommend various treatments, which could include anti inflammatory medications, physical therapy, or bite guards. Please see your dental practitioners soon.

A.Muradov (Dental Expert Team)
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