Temporomandibular Disorder(TMD): Causes, Symptoms, And Treatment

Temporomandibular Disorder(TMD): Causes, Symptoms, And Treatment

Dec 01, 2021

The jaws are a pair of bones that form the framework of the mouth. The jaws hold the teeth and function by moving in opposite directions to each other. The lower jaw, also known as the mandible, supports the bottom row of teeth and helps to give shape to the lower face and chin. It is the lower jaw that moves as the mouth opens or closes. The lower jaw is the most prominent, strongest, and lowest bone in the human facial skeleton.

The upper jaw, also known as the maxilla, holds the upper teeth, gives support to the nose, and shapes the middle of the face. While the lower jaw holds the tongue, which moves freely as you speak and eat, the maxilla (upper jaw) allows normal airflow and shapes the floor of the nasal cavity. Now, here’s the exciting part of things; the jaws can perform these functions due to the lower jawbone articulation with the skull’s temporal bone. This joint is known as the temporomandibular joint. When there is a problem with this joint, the temporomandibular disorder arises.

The temporomandibular disorder manifests as pain, discomfort, and compromised jaw joint movement and the surrounding muscles. Unsurprisingly, people who have TMD will experience pain when they attempt any form of activity at the jaws. In this article, we will learn why this happens in some people and how specialists treat it.

Causes of Temporomandibular Disorder

While the exact cause of the temporomandibular disorder may not be ascertained, a few factors have been linked to the pain that arises from temporomandibular disorder. These factors include:

  • Bruxism: This is the habitual aggressive grinding and clenching of the teeth. It could result in problems with the temporomandibular joint as it places excessive strain on the jaw and the group of muscles controlling it.
  • Arthritis in the joint: Arthritis is the inflammation of one or more joints, causing pain and stiffness. Inflammation of the Temporomandibular joint can lead to Temporomandibular disorder.
  • Stress: This can cause you to tighten or clench your facial and jaw muscles leading to TMD.
  • The movement of the soft disc between the ball and socket of the joint.
  • Misalignment of the teeth or the jaw (malocclusion) can lead to TMD.

Symptoms Of Temporomandibular Disorder

The symptoms of the temporomandibular disorder include:

  • Earache or ear pain.
  • Having trouble chewing or feeling uncomfortable while chewing or biting.
  • Jaw pain.
  • Locking of the jaw joint.
  • Clicking or popping sounds in the ears.
  • Headaches.

Whenever you feel these symptoms accompanied by a stiff or sore jaw, you should see a TMJ dentist for a diagnosis. You can visit us at Chaparral Valley Dental today. Please book an appointment with us right away.

How Long Does TMJ Pain Last?

TMJ with acute symptoms and signs can last for a few days or weeks and then disappear. However, the pain of chronic TMJ can last for several months or even years.

Treatment Of TMD

TMJ treatment can take several dimensions. These include medications, therapy, and even surgery. Sometimes, the symptoms go away on their own without treatment. If they persist, medications are often the first line of treatment.

TMJ medications include nerve pain medications, sedatives, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, analgesics, and muscle relaxants. They all help in pain alleviation.

TMJ therapy could also take the form of non-pharmacological means. Oral devices like mouth guards and oral splints help some people. Physical therapies are another option. They include radio wave therapy, TMJ massage therapy, Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS), low-level laser therapy, and trigger-point injections. You are sure to feel some relief after TMJ therapy.

Finally, surgical procedures for TMJ treatment include arthroscopy, open-joint surgery, and arthrocentesis. These surgeries are definitive forms of treatment and are reserved as the last resort when others fail.

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