November 6, 2021

Temporomandibular Disorder Treatment

Temporomandibular Disorder Treatment

Temporomandibular Disorder can cause a lot of facial pain due to the strain on the jaw muscles. There are a lot of muscles, bones, and joints in this area, and anything that throws off the ability for these parts to work together can cause jaw problems. Learn more about temporomandibular disorders, causes of TMJ disorder and treatment.

What are Temporomandibular Disorders?

The temporomandibular joints (TMJ) connect the lower portion of your jaw to your skull. They rotate and slide underneath your ears. These are incredibly complex joints that can easily become misaligned or damaged. If this occurs, the motor functions of your jaw can be severely impacted. A temporomandibular disorder is any dysfunction of this joint, the mandible, and the functionality of the jaw.

Signs and Symptoms of a TMJ Disorder

You may have a temporomandibular joint disorder if you experience the following symptoms:

  • Jaw pain, soreness, or discomfort (either constant or at certain times of day)
  • Jaw locking
  • Limitations in mouth movements
  • Upper and lower teeth align differently than before

If you are experiencing any of these jaw-related symptoms, you may want to speak with a healthcare provider about a possible TMJ Disorder. They can inform you of the causes of TMJ disorder and treatment options that work for you.

You may also experience some secondary symptoms that do not directly affect your jaw:

  • Headache
  • Ears ringing
  • Dizziness
  • Sensitive teeth
  • Numbness in your fingers

How to Get a Diagnosis

The first thing your dental professional will do is ask you a series of questions regarding your condition and your jaw health history. They will want to know if you have a history of pain while chewing or other forms of facial or jaw discomfort. In order to understand your causes of TMJ disorder and treatment options for you, the doctor will try to understand the source of the pain. 

After a discussion about your pain and the history of it, the healthcare provider will perform a physical examination of your face to check for abnormalities. You will be asked to move your jaw in different ways, testing where the pain is and if there are any limits to your jaw’s mobility.

 If necessary, the healthcare provider may recommend some imaging tests to take a look at your jaw and temporomandibular joint to get a better understanding of the issue. These tests could be X-rays, CT scans, or MRIs. This will help them to clarify things they noticed in the physical examination and learn how to treat your TMD.

Treatment Options

There are quite a few options your healthcare provider might choose for you to improve your jaw health. The simplest is resting your jaw. This would mean no gum chewing, eating soft foods, avoiding jaw clenching and teeth grinding, and avoiding opening the mouth too wide. Your healthcare provider may also elect to give you some medicine or pain relievers to help during this process. Hot and cold treatments may also be used for pain relieving purposes.

Physical therapy may also be used to fix TMJ related issues. Doing specific jaw movements can help strengthen the joint and return it to its natural resting position. There may need to be changes to your behaviors, if grinding your teeth or clenching your jaw regularly is a source of the jaw issues. This is a sign of stress, so stress reduction and management measures may also be taken to improve the health of your jaw.

In more extreme cases, there may be a need for medical intervention. Surgery is also an option for TMJ treatment. This would only occur if the mobility of the jaw has become incredibly limited, and other options would no longer be possible to fix this issue. Your options include:

  • Arthrocentesis- small needles inserted to improve flow of fluid in the joint.
  • Injections- Botox or similar products to relieve pain and improve mobility.
  • TMJ Arthroscopy- putting a tube in the joint and performing a surgery.
  • Modified Condylotomy- surgery on the mandible, not the joint itself.
  • Open-joint surgery- to repair or replace the joint. The most invasive of all the options.

Diagnosis and Treatment at Taylorview Dental

Finding out the causes of your TMJ disorder and treatment has never been easier. To schedule an appointment to diagnose and treat your potential TMJ disorder, contact Taylorview Dental in Idaho Falls, Idaho.