Everything You Need to Know About Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ)

The temporomandibular joint joins the lower jaw, also known as the mandible, to the temporal bone, which is located on the side of the head. You can feel the joints by placing your fingers right in front of your ears and opening your lips. The jaw can move easily up and down and side to side because these joints are flexible, allowing us to talk, chew, and yawn. The jaw joint’s position and mobility are controlled by muscles linked to and around it.

The rounded tips of the lower jaw, known as condyles, slide over the joint socket of the temporal bone as we open our lips. When we close our mouths, the condyles return to their previous place.

What are some of the most common TMJ symptoms?

It’s crucial to remember that symptoms can range from mild to severe, and many of them might be mistaken for other ailments or diseases. This complicates TMJ diagnosis and can lead to misdiagnosis.

– Jaw discomfort can occur on one or both sides of the face.

– Ear discomfort — you could also feel discomfort in your ears.

– Pain in the mouth, especially toothaches

– Tightness or discomfort in the eyes

– You have a tightness over your face.

– Having a hard time chewing

– Having difficulty chewing

– Lockjaw is a term used to describe a situation

– When you open or close your mouth, you hear a clicking or popping sound.

– Migraines and cluster headaches are examples of headaches.

– Your ears are ringing.

What causes temporomandibular joint dysfunction?

So if you experience TMJ symptoms, your doctor may examine your jaw to check if there is swelling or soreness. Several imaging tests may be used by your doctor. These can include the following:

– X-rays of the mouth and jaw

– A CT scan of the jaw is used to examine the bones and tissues that make up the joint.

– An MRI of the jaw is performed to see whether there are any structural issues with the jaw.

In many situations, the reason for TMJ dysfunction is unknown. Trauma to the jaw or joint might be a factor. Other health issues may also play a role in the development of TMJ. These are some of them:

– rheumatoid arthritis

– Joint deterioration

– grinding or clenching of the teeth on a regular basis

– Jaw structural issues are prevalent from birth.

– Orthodontic braces are a type of braces that are used to straighten teeth

– Neck and facial muscles are strained as a result of improper posture.

– long-term stress

– a bad diet

sleep deprivation

Treatments and Therapies for TMJ

A custom-made dental device is one of the most popular ways of TMJ therapy. These mouth guards, also known as oral appliances, are comparable to the mouth guards worn by sportsmen and can significantly reduce TMJ symptoms. Dental appliances are also easy to use and non-invasive, making them a great treatment alternative.

Another typical TMJ treatment is physical therapy. This might involve workouts for the jaw, mouth, and face. It might also entail using hot and cold compresses to the temporomandibular joint to reduce pain and stiffness. Based on your unique symptoms, your physical therapist will devise a personalised treatment plan for you.

Finally, there are a number of TMJ operations to choose from. Arthrotomy (open joint surgery), arthroscopy, modified condylotomy, arthrocentesis, and other techniques are some of these options. TMJ surgery is seldom required, and should only be considered if other treatments and therapies have failed to relieve your TMJ pain. It’s critical to consider the risks and advantages of TMJ surgery in the same way that you would any other operation.