Temporomandibular joint and muscle disorders, also commonly referred to as TMJ, are a group of conditions that cause pain as well as dysfunction in the jaw joint and the muscles that control the movement of the jaw. Although it is not fully known how many people have TMJ disorders, it is estimated that millions of…
Diagnosis and Treatment for TMJ
TMJ disorder is an issue that affects many Americans each year. It leads to jaw pain, limited jaw movement and other symptoms. Dentists can diagnose, treat and prevent TMJ disorder through a variety of methods. It is helpful to understand how the diagnostic and treatment process works for TMJ to determine if you should visit a dentist for TMJ symptoms.
Reviewing TMJ causes, symptoms and treatment
Although TMJ disorder is never a fun experience, the good news is that dentists are skilled and experienced at diagnosing and treating the condition. The following is a complete review of the causes, symptoms, treatment and prevention for TMJ, including insights into when a visit to the dentist to learn more is encouraged.
An overview of TMJ
To fully understand TMJ, you must first understand the role of the temporomandibular joint. TMJ disorder refers to issues related to the temporomandibular joint, which connects the jaw and the skull together. It acts like a hinge, and it plays an important role in the opening and closing of the jaw. TMJ disorder results when the joint becomes overworked or injured. It can lead to a variety of symptoms, including jaw pain and difficulty opening and closing the mouth.
How is TMJ diagnosed
The dentist may be able to diagnose TMJ based on the symptoms alone, although they may have to order dental X-rays as well. The most common symptoms of TMJ disorder include:
- Jaw pain and tenderness
- Clicking of the jaw
- Face and ear pain
- Difficulty chewing
If one or more of these symptoms are present, then it is encouraged to visit the dentist for a consultation visit for a prompt and accurate diagnosis.
Treatment options for TMJ
There are a variety of available treatment options for TMJ disorder. The type of treatment your dentist recommends depends on the severity of the symptoms. For minor instances of TMJ, over-the-counter medication, icing the affected area and wearing a mouthguard to prevent teeth grinding may be all that is required. The dentist may recommend Botox® treatment or muscle relaxants for more severe instances. Dentists typically only recommend surgical procedures as a last resort if non-surgical methods do not work.
Prevention tips for TMJ symptoms
The best way to deal with TMJ disorder is to prevent it from occurring in the first place. If TMJ symptoms become chronic, then it is encouraged to visit the dentist for treatment of the current symptoms. During the visit, they will also help arrange a prevention plan to ensure future instances of TMJ are reduced or eliminated. Prevention tips may include wearing a mouthguard long-term while sleeping and reducing stress, among other prevention techniques.
Talk to a dentist about TMJ treatment
You can learn more about TMJ disorder and how a dentist can effectively diagnose and treat the condition long-term by reaching out to our dental team today. Our experienced staff is more than willing to address any concerns you have. You can reach us via phone or email, and we respond promptly to all who are interested.
Check out what others are saying about our dental services on Yelp: TMJ in Torrance, CA.
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