Temporomandibular (tem-puh-roe-man-DIB-u-lur) Disorders are the disorders that develop from the issues with the contact between teeth, jaw joint, and facial muscles surrounding the jaw that control the movement of the jaw. The jaw joint is known as the temporomandibular jaw (TMJ). It is freely moving the joint that works as a connection between the lower jaw and the temporal bone of the skull. It is present on each side of your head in front of the ear. By the smooth up and down and side to side movement of this jaw, we can eat, chew, yawn, and talk. The position and movement of the jaw are controlled by the muscles attached to it.
When this jaw joint is injured, damaged, or dislocated, it can lead to a pain disorder which is known as temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ) or temporomandibular disorder (TMD). This is the disorder of jaw muscles and nerves and can be caused by the inflammation of the jaw joint. The injury or inflammation of the TMJ leads to the pain with clicking, crackling, chewing, or popping of the jaw. This can also lead to the swelling, inflammation of the nerves, headaches, or sometimes it may also cause the dislocation of temporomandibular joint (TMJ). there is not a specific test to diagnose this disorder. It is diagnosed mostly by its symptoms. Trigeminal neuralgia has many similar symptoms to temporomandibular joint disorder.
In most of the cases, this discomfort and pain is temporary and can be cured by some care and nonsurgical treatments. The surgical treatment is the last option when all the basic care and treatments have failed then the people can get benefit from surgical treatments.
Causes of Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Disorder:
The exact cause of this disorder is often difficult to determine but there are many factors that lead to cause the TMJ disorders. This disorder can be caused due to any injury to the jaw, muscles of the neck and head, temporomandibular joint, or any heavy blow. Some other causes are mentioned below:
- The presence of osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis in the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) can cause this disorder.
- This disorder can be caused by putting a lot of pressure on TMJ by grinding or clenching the teeth.
- There is a disc or soft cushion between the ball and the socket and if this disc got dislocated because of any pressure or hit, this will cause the temporomandibular disorder.
- The stress and depression cause a person to tighten the muscles of the face and jaw or to clench the teeth can arise problems like dislocation of the disc which leads to temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ).
- The women of 18 to 45 years of age, the patients who have chronic inflammatory arthritis, and people who have poorly positioned teeth have a high risk of this syndrome.
- Injury, poor posture, or misalignment of the teeth or jaw.
- Poor posture in the neck and its upper muscles may cause neck strain or abnormalities in the functioning of the jaw muscle.
- Misallocation or trauma to the teeth of jaw.
- Some other inflammatory musculoskeletal disorders and arthritis also cause TMJ disorder.
- The excessive chewing of gum.
Symptoms of Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Disorder:
One of the main symptoms is the pain in the jaw joint. The pain in the jaw point may include the eye, forehead, ear, face, or neck. Symptoms of TMJ disorder include the following:
- Difficulty and pain in eating, chewing and talking.
- Difficulty in opening or closing the mouth because of the locking the jaw.
- A clicking sounds or grating sensation while chewing.
- Tenderness in the area of the joint.
- Pain at the back of the mouth and tongue.
- Swelling in the surrounding muscles of the jaw and face.
- Popping of the jaw crepitus.
- The pain is the shoulders sometimes.
- Pain or sounds of cracking in the ear.
- A sense of fullness in one or both ears.
- The vision is a bit blurred.
- Spasms of the muscles in the jaw.
- Tightness or stiffness of the muscles and sore jaw.
- A tired or dizzy feeling in your face.
- Sometimes the symptoms may include the diminished auditory acuity (hearing
- Lockjaw or dislocation of the jaw due to any pressure or widely yawning.
- Sensation or feeling that the teeth don’t meet properly.
If you feel no pain or difficulty in the movement of jaw, then you probably don’t need the treatment for a temporomandibular disorder.
Recommendations for Treatment:
There are many techniques, remedies, surgical and nonsurgical treatments for this disorder. As most of the muscles and jaw joint problems are temporary so it is suggested to try to treat TMJ disorder by nonsurgical treatments. In most of the cases, the temporomandibular joint disordered can be treated at home. There are some self-care recommendations that treat the TMJ disorder and this could include, to avoid the chewing gum, only soft foods should be eaten and avoid clenching or tensing the jaw. Apply an ice pack to the swelled area and the side of the face. Use a warm towel to the side of your face for some time and do some jaw stretches if your dentists allow. Try to manage and reduce stress. Practice simple jaw relaxing exercises that can help in the movement of your jaw.
A Botox may be used to relax the jaw muscles, but this is not an approved treatment by the FDA. physical therapy can strengthen the muscle and can improve flexibility. Try to avoid the surgical treatments as far as it is possible because these treatments are controversial but in extreme cases when you are suffering from consistent pain and tenderness in your jaw than surgery is the best treatment for pain and TMJ disorder. Surgery is only recommended when the actual joint is injured or damaged badly and cannot be treated by techniques or remedies. The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) suggests the other independent opinions before proceeding for surgery. The NIDCR advises that try all stretching techniques, home remedies before going for surgery as it may make the condition even worse.