TMJ or Temporomandibular Joint is the connecting joint between both the upper and lower jawbones. It is present on both sides of the face, just below the ears, and is responsible for the movement of the lower jaw. Excessive pressure applied on the TMJ could lead to a condition called TMD or Temporomandibular joint disorder, which hinders the movement of the jaw and cause pain in the facial bones and tissues.
What are the causes and symptoms of TMD
The common causes of TMD are as follows:
- Excessive clenching of jaws, which applies unwanted pressure on the TMJ. It also causes the surrounding soft tissues to strain.
- Bruxism, or uncontrolled clenching of jaws and grinding of teeth during sleep.
- External injury to the TMJ.
- Consistent movement of the jaws, such as while chewing gum or talking for longer durations, which cause the muscles near the TMJ to fatigue.
The symptoms include:
- Pain in the jaws while chewing food, talking, etc.
- Persistent headaches, especially during early morning (due to clenching of jaws during sleep).
- Popping sound while moving the jaws.
- Limited movement of the lower jaw along with a feeling of uneasiness.
- Swelling of the tissues near the TMJ, making the face look swollen.
The treatment for TMJ can be divided into two types; Remedial methods that you can practice by yourself at home and professional treatment by a dentist. The everyday habits that you can practice to relieve yourself from the symptoms of TMD are as follows:
- Avoid chewing gum.
- Avoid frequent snacking, as it could apply repetitive stresses on the TMJ.
- Subconscious clenching of the jaws should be avoided. It could cause the tissues of the TMJ to fatigue and also wear of the teeth.
- Massaging the area near the TMJ provides relief to the stressed-out facial tissues.
- Habits such as holding the phone between the ear and shoulder while on call should be avoided. Instead, you can use earphones.
People who still experience pain after following these habits would require medical attention. The dentist would examine your condition and suggest a suitable, customized treatment plan for you. To prevent the clenching of jaws, they may provide a nighttime bruxism guard that prevent the teeth from undergoing wear. In extreme cases of TMD, when no other treatment option proves effective, a surgery may be in order to help alleviate the pain of the condition.
Call us or schedule an appointment online today to get your TMD treated immediately!