Do you have pain on either side of your head in front of the ears? It could be related to a temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder. For the uninitiated, the temporomandibular joint is located where the jawbone meets the skull on either side of the head. The temporomandibular joint is responsible for how you eat, speak, yawn, or open your mouth. Pain in one of both joints is called a temporomandibular joint disorder. If you need help with Gaithersburg TMJ, find a clinic near you immediately and seek medical care. In this post, we are discussing more about TMJ disorders.
Symptoms and signs
A temporomandibular joint disorder can cause serious symptoms. Besides difficulty opening your mouth and chewing, you may have a headache that may seem hard to deal with. Many patients also experience tenderness in the jaw, a symptom called jaw locking, earaches, and an uneven bite. You may also hear a clicking sound when you open and close your mouth.
What causes TMJ disorders?
The temporomandibular joint is often considered one of the most complex joints in the body. We use the joint more often than we think. There are various reasons that may cause damage to the TMJ, such as cartilage damage triggered by arthritis. Other causes include misaligned or worn-down discs, acute trauma, overuse of the joint due to teeth grinding and jaw clenching.
You can see your regular physician or a dentist if you suspect the condition. They will usually start with a complete physical exam and review your medical history. In some cases, it may be necessary to order imaging tests, such as X-rays and MRIs, for TMJ disorder diagnosis.
Treatments for TMJ disorders
Initially, patients may need to focus on home care to see if they get any relief. For instance, you could use ice packs to reduce visible swelling, stick to eating soft foods, reduce jaw movements, and avoid chewing foods that are hard to eat, and try jaw-stretching exercises. If these steps fail, there are several treatments available for TMJ disorders. Your dentist or pain management doctor will discuss the options in detail to decide the right plan. Typical options include oral medications, including nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), steroid injections, corrective dental treatment, orthodontic care, Botox injections, and Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). Although not typical, TMJ disorders may require surgery in some cases.
If you are dealing with TMJ pain, don’t wait more than a week to seek medical attention.