TMJ, which is short for temporomandibular joint and muscle disorders—we’ll simply refer to it as TMJ from here on out, is a condition that can cause pain and or improper function of the muscles, which control the jawbone. For most people this isn’t a serious problem, although it can be more serious for some, while merely an annoyance for others. Often pain from TMJ is temporary, although it can continually occur in cycles.
Several different things could cause TMJ disorders. Firstly, TMJ is caused by trauma to the jaw. But often TMJ just appears even if no trauma has occurred. It’s possible that oral disorders such as an overbite or other alignment issues can cause TMJ. Even orthodontic braces can cause TMJ to occur.
There are several symptoms that a person has TMJ: a radiating pain in the jaw or in the neck or the face, or, more obviously, in the jaw; if the jaw muscles feel overly tight; if the jaw is locked, or a person’s ability to move the jaw is limited—this could also be a symptom of a worse condition and treatment should be sought immediately; there’s a pain at the jaw when a person opens or closes their mouths and with the pain is a clicking feeling or sound; if a person’s teeth suddenly change, and the rows of teeth fit differently. These symptoms could all be signs of other oral issues, so it’s important to not jump to conclusions if you’re suffering from one or more of these symptoms. But, how will you know? It’s important if you’re suffering from any of these symptoms to consult your periodontist.
Treatments for TMJ vary with severity. For some, simple jaw-stretching exercises could relieve the pain, while others may require pain medications to subside the insistent cycles of pain. Anti-inflammatories and muscle relaxants can be used for worse case scenarios.
If you believe that you have TMJ disorder, it’s important to not immediately panic—remember the discomfort in your face or jaw could be from anything besides TMJ like, for instance, a sinus infection which is easily treatable. If you are suffering from TMJ please visit Periodontal Specialists of Montana today!