Do you often suffer from the jaw and facial pain? Have you been diagnosed with Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction (TMD)? If you nodded yes, then TMJ Therapy may be the answer to your prayers. TMJ Therapy is a form of physical therapy that aims to restore the normal functioning of the muscles and joints in the jaw and head region. In this blog post, Saranya Dental will explore all you need to know about TMD treatment, including what it is, how it works, who should consider getting it and more. So read on to learn more about this life- changing therapy!
What is TMJ?
The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is where the lower jawbone meets the skull. The TMJ is a ball-and-socket joint that allows the lower jaw to move in all directions. It is one of the most frequently used joints in the body and is essential for chewing, speaking, and yawning.
The TMJ is surrounded by a cuff of tissue called the capsule. The capsule helps to stabilize the joint and keeps the bones from rubbing against each other. The capsule is lined with a layer of cartilage called the articular disc. The articular disc cushions the bones and allows them to move smoothly against each other.
The TMJ is held together by a system of muscles, ligaments, and tendons. These structures work together to keep the jawbone in place and allow it to move freely.
TMD occurs when there is dysfunction in any of these structures. TMD can be caused by problems with the muscles, ligaments, or tendons around the TMJ. It can also be caused by problems with the articular disc or by damage to the bones themselves.
What causes TMJ?
The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is the hinge that connects your lower jaw to your skull. It lets you move your jaw up and down and side to side so you can talk, chew, and yawn.
But when the TMJ isn’t working right, it can cause a lot of problems. That’s called TMD (temporomandibular disorder).
There are a lot of different things that can cause TMD, but no one knows for sure what causes it. Some experts think it might be due to:
- Arthritis or other problems with the TMJ itself
- Problems with the muscles and ligaments around the TMJ
- Teeth grinding or clenching (bruxism)
Whatever the cause, TMD can be very painful. It can make it hard to chew or even open your mouth wide. You may hear clicking or popping sounds when you move your jaw. And your jaw may feel stiff or “locked” in place.
How is TMJ diagnosed?
TMJ disorders are notoriously difficult to diagnose because the symptoms can be so varied and nonspecific. For example, many people who suffer from migraines also have TMJ, but not all people with TMJ have migraines. And then other conditions can cause similar symptoms, such as sinus infections or toothaches.
The best way to diagnose TMJ is to see a qualified healthcare provider who has experience in treating these disorders. They will take a complete medical history and conduct a physical examination. They may also order imaging tests, such as X-rays or MRI scans, to get a better look at the joints.
Once a diagnosis is made, the healthcare provider will develop a treatment plan that may include medication, physical therapy, orthotic devices, or surgery. In some cases, a combination of treatments is necessary to achieve relief from the symptoms.
The different types of TMJ treatments
There are a variety of different treatments available for TMJ disorders, depending on the specific condition and its severity. Some common treatments include:
- Pain medication: Over-the-counter or prescription pain medication can help to relieve pain and inflammation associated with TMJ disorders.
- Hot or cold compresses: Applying heat or ice to the affected area can also help to reduce pain and inflammation.
- Jaw exercises: Specific exercises that stretch and strengthen the muscles around the jaw can help to improve function and reduce pain.
- Dietary changes: Avoiding hard or chewy foods, as well as limiting caffeine and alcohol, can help to reduce stress on the jaw and prevent further pain.
- Splints or mouth guards: Wearing a splint or mouth guard at night can help to keep the teeth in alignment and prevent further damage to the TMJ joint.
Pros and cons of TMJ treatments
When it comes to TMJ treatment, there are a few different schools of thought. Some people believe that the best course of action is to do nothing and let the body heal itself. Others believe that aggressive treatment is necessary in order to relieve the pain and discomfort associated with TMJ.
There are pros and cons to both approaches. Doing nothing may lead to the condition resolving on its own, but it may also take months or even years for this to happen. And during that time, the pain and discomfort can be significant.
Aggressive treatment, on the other hand, can provide relief more quickly but may also have some risks and side effects. The most common type of aggressive treatment is surgery, which can be effective but also carries the risk of complications.
So, ultimately, the decision to pursue aggressive treatment for TMJ should be made after careful consideration and consultation with a healthcare professional.
How We Can Help
There are a number of ways Saranya Dental can help treat TMD. We can create a custom mouthguard to wear at night to protect your teeth from grinding. We can also adjust your bite and fit you for braces or other dental devices that can help alleviate the pain of TMD. If you're suffering from TMD, don't suffer in silence—make an appointment with Saranya Dental today!