What is TMJ?


TMJ, or temporomandibular joint disorder, means that the hinge connecting the upper and lower jaw isn't working properly. This hinge is one of the most complex joints in the body, responsible for moving the lower jaw forward, backward and side-to-side. Any problem that prevents this complex system of muscles, ligaments, discs and bones from working is called TMJ. Often, TMJ feels like your jaw is popping or clicking or even "getting stuck". The exact cause of this misalignment is often impossible to determine.

 

What are the Symptoms of TMJ?


TMJ disorders have many signs and symptoms. It's often hard to know for sure if you have TMJ, because one or all of these symptoms can also be present for other problems. Your dentist can help make a proper diagnosis by taking a complete medical and dental history, conducting a clinical examination and taking X-rays.

Some of the most common TMJ symptoms include:

  • Headaches, earaches, pain and pressure behind the eyes

  • A clicking or popping sound when you open or close your mouth

  • Pain brought on by yawning, opening the mouth widely or chewing

  • Jaws that "get stuck," lock or go out

  • Tenderness of the jaw muscles

  • A sudden change in the way the upper and lower teeth fit together

How is TMJ Treated?
 

While there is no single cure for TMJ, there are different treatments you can follow that may reduce your symptoms dramatically. Your dentist may recommend one or more of the following:

  • Trying to eliminate muscle spasm and pain by applying moist heat or taking medication such as muscle-relaxants, aspirin or other over-the-counter pain-relievers, or anti-inflammatory drugs

  • Reducing the harmful effects of clenching and grinding by wearing an appliance, sometimes called a bite plate or splint. Custom-made to fit your mouth, the appliance slips over the upper teeth and keeps them from grinding against the lower teeth

  • Learning relaxation techniques to help control muscle tension in the jaw. Your dentist may suggest you seek training or counseling to help eliminate stress

  • When the jaw joints are affected and other treatments have been unsuccessful, jaw joint surgery may be recommended

 

TMJ occurs when the complex joint that "hinges" your upper and lower jaw does not work well.

This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.

TMJ pain can be very painful and it can make you very emotional, it is a good idea to make sure you speak to your Doctor as well and make sure you have lots of support.

Some things that can help

*Sore throat lozengers

*Sore throat sprays (They help by numbing and soothing)

 

A Nurse working in maxillofacial unit specialising in this condition wrote this

It is extremely common and most people will suffer from it at some point in their lives,


 Treat it by - 


 • resting like you would any sprained joint, as it is a sprained joint
 • don’t open it wide open
 • use your mouth as little as possible
 • eat a very soft diet starting with soup consistency for at least a few weeks then when it’s more comfortable try introducing mushy foods like pasta, mash, scrambled egg ect  for a few weeks and gradually build up to foods that don’t require a lot of effort to chew
 •There are exercises, but I wouldn’t recommend them until the pain has reduced 
 •some people find a bite raising appliance to separate the joints whilst sleeping to prevent clenching or grinding but some dentists tend to over charge for these 🙄
 • rubbing pain relieving gel like move a lot or ibuprofen can help but keep away from your eyes and make sure your not allergic to it first
 • gentle heat over the joint several times a day is soothing & helps the blood flow to heal quicker (I hold my cuppa next to my joint when it’s sore but have to be careful- don’t want to scold or burn my face)
 • something we haven’t recommended to patients but I have used with great success for pain relief is rubbing 4head over the area - it feels cool & soothing 
 If the above doesn’t work then you need to have the joint examined preferably by an expert firstly having a scanning X-ray (OPG) it will rule out any dental cause & may indicate if 
an arthroscopy to look in to the joint and wash it out would help
They may suggest the old style antidepressants that work to suppress pain transmitters like Amitriptyline
 and sometimes a type of Botox injected into the muscle if its causing  the muscles to be tense
I hope the above gives you an understanding of the condition and that you feel better soon

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