Temporomandibular Joint Disorders (TMD) refer to conditions affecting the temporomandibular joint, which connects your jawbone to your skull. Common TMD symptoms include jaw pain, difficulty chewing or opening the mouth, clicking or popping sounds in the jaw, and headaches. Causes can range from teeth grinding jaw injury, or arthritis. Treatment often involves lifestyle changes, physical therapy, or dental interventions to relieve pain and improve jaw function, but severe cases may require surgery.
If the disorder is not treated timely, the pain may gradually move to the nearby muscles, causing pain in other facial areas. It can happen due to an external injury, arthritis, genetics, or other similar issue. Many times, the temporomandibular pain is temporary and can be relieved with the help of painkillers and other medications. But in case of severe injuries, surgery is the last resort to heal the disorder.
Causes of Temporomandibular Joint Disorders
- Jaw Injury– Jaw injury caused by an accident, sports injury, violent attack, osteonecrosis, or any form of cancer may cause the jaw joint disorder. Surgery is the last method to heal the disorder when conservative methods cannot treat jaw injuries.
- Bruxism– The act of clenching or grinding teeth is known as bruxism. It is an involuntary process and happens due to many reasons. Many people do the act while sleeping. Excessive clenching of jaw muscles can cause pain in them and cause different types of disorders. In case of such causes, it is recommended to get advice from a professional healthcare service and get to the root of the cause.
- Osteoarthritis– Another major cause of the jaw disorder is osteoarthritis. Arthritis can cause pain in the jaw joints and muscles and may cease functions such as eating, chewing, talking, and brushing teeth.
- Misaligned Bite- An improper bite or alignment of the teeth can place strain on the jaw joint.
- Genetics- Some individuals may have a genetic predisposition to TMD.
- Habitual Behaviours- Frequent gum chewing, nail-biting, or excessive jaw movements can contribute.
Symptoms of Temporomandibular Joint Disorders
Mentioned below are a few symptoms of temporomandibular joint disorders that help to identify the issue helpful for timely treatment:
- Jaw Pain– One of the identifiable and significant symptoms of the disorder is jaw pain. Jaw pain can occur for different reasons, such as clenching of teeth, dislocated jaw due to external injury, toothache, or gum problems.
- Facial Pain– Pain in the facial muscles due to an external injury or other medical issues is known as facial pain. It can also happen due to a jaw joint disorder. The affected individual may feel bone pain near the eyes, nose, or jaw.
- Neck Pain– Another identifiable symptom of temporomandibular disorder is neck pain. Weak neck posture and other problems may cause neck pain, but issues in the gums, jaw joints, and muscles also cause extreme pain in the neck.
- Jaw Popping– Another identifiable issue of this jaw disorder is jaw popping. It happens when one can hear popping sounds from the jaw while speaking, eating, or clenching teeth.
- Tinnitus- Ringing or buzzing in the ears.
- Headaches- Frequent headaches, including tension-type or migraine headaches.
- Toothaches- Pain in the teeth without dental issues.
- Earaches- Pain in or around the ears, sometimes mistaken for ear problems.
- Neck and Shoulder Pain- Pain or tension in the neck and shoulder muscles.
Treatment Options for Temporomandibular Joint Disorders
Mentioned below are a few TMJ treatment options that help to resolve the pain and various other issues experienced by the painful jaw:
- Medications– Different types of medications are helpful to cure jaw pain and other jaw disorders. Medications such as pain-relievers, anti-inflammatory medications, and muscle relaxants may be prescribed by doctors to relieve the jaw joint and muscle pain.
- Therapies– Different therapies also help eliminate different types of jaw disorders. Oral splints placed over the teeth help gradually eliminate jaw pain. Small exercises also work as a therapy to treat painful jaws.
- Surgeries– When conservative methods such as medications and other non-surgical treatment options cannot lower jaw pain, an individual may require surgery. Different surgical procedures such as arthrocentesis, injections, TMJ arthroscopy, and open-joint surgery are some of the surgical procedures that help resolve the issue.
- Oral Appliances- A splint or mouthguard can be custom-made to help align the jaw and relieve pressure on the joint.
When to Consult a Doctor
You can also get in touch with the expert Ortho doctors at Narayana Healthcare based in your city to get immediate attention and medical support during injuries, health disorders or any other health concern.
Temporomandibular joint disorders can be irritating and painful for the affected individual. The affected patient is unable to chew, eat, or brush teeth. Different medications and surgeries help lower the disorder’s symptoms and allow one to heal as soon as possible.
Q. What are temporomandibular joint disorders?
A. Pain and medical problems caused in the temporomandibular joints are known as temporomandibular joint disorders.
Q. What are the symptoms of temporomandibular joint disorders?
A. Jaw pain, toothache, gum infection, and teeth clenching are some of the disorder’s symptoms.
Q. What are the causes of temporomandibular joint disorders?
A. A variety of factors can cause TMJ. It may result from physical injury or trauma to the jaw joint, such as a car accident or a blow to the face. Arthritis, teeth grinding (bruxism) and clenching, often due to stress, can overwork the jaw muscles and lead to TMJ. Structural issues such as a misaligned bite or jaw deformities can also increase the risk.
Q. How are temporomandibular joint disorders treated?
A. Treatment for TMJ includes physical therapy, mouthguards to prevent teeth grinding, and relaxation techniques. In some instances, medications such as muscle relaxants or corticosteroids are prescribed. Surgical options such as arthrocentesis or joint replacement may be considered if conservative methods fail.