Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Disorder: Its Main Causes, Symptoms and Potential Treatments

Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) refers to the joint found in a person’s
jaw. It is specifically the hinge joint which links your mandible or
lower jaw into your skull’s temporal bone. Your temporal bone is the
bone found in the front part of your ear, in both sides of your head.
The flexibility of the joint is undeniable, considering its ability to
let your jaw move side to side and down and up without any trouble. It
also guarantees ease in talking, chewing, smiling and yawning. Muscles
found in this joint works in taking complete control of the movements
and position of your jaw. TMJ has 6 major components. These are the

  • Capsule
  • Ligaments
  • Articular surface found in your temporal bone
  • Articular disc
  • Mandibular condyles
  • Lateral pterygoid
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TMJ Disorder Explained

TMJ disorder is a condition which triggers painful and dysfunctional
jaw joints and muscles that work in controlling the movements of your
jaw. Certain conditions affecting your chewing muscles and jaw joint
also fall under TMJ disorders. It should be noted that these disorders
differ from one person to another. The responses of sufferers of the
condition also vary widely, depending upon the severity of their case.

disorders cause problems in your joint and jaw and the muscles
surrounding them. One problem is pain that tends to travel all
throughout your neck, jaw or face. It also causes stiff jaw muscles,
painful jaw popping or clicking, limited jaw movement, jaw lock and
changes in the manner through which your teeth fit together.

of the primary causes of TMJ disorders is arthritis. This often results
from injuries or teeth grinding at night. The problem might also be
caused by disk dislocation or displacement. The affected disk is the one
found between your socket and jawbone. Displaced disks have the
tendency of producing popping or clicking sounds, limitations in jaw
movements, and pain when closing and opening your mouth.

There are
also instances when the displaced disk that triggers TMJ disorders
develop from a perforation or hole, which produces grating sounds when
moving your joints. Other conditions that might trigger the problem
include rheumatoid arthritis and trauma that trigger some parts of your
TMJ to fuse. This often leads to the prevention of proper jaw movements.

Possible Treatments for TMJ Disorders

1. Natural Treatments

There are plenty of self-care or natural practices that are valuable in
easing TMJ disorder symptoms. These include eating only soft foods, ice
pack application, stress reduction and relaxation techniques Extreme jaw
movements like prolonged gum chewing, loud singing and wide yawning
should also be prevented.

2. Use of Occlusal Splints

This is useful when worn over your teeth because of its effectiveness
in providing an aid in treating malocclusion and TMJ disorders. The
splints can also be used in preventing your teeth from coming together.
This reduces the risk of clenching or grinding your teeth. Splints are
also useful in removing pressure from the muscles and joints of your

3. Pain Relief Medications

Using over-the-counter pain relief medications is often beneficial for
TMJ disorder sufferers. Sufferers can also try using anti-inflammatory
and non-steroidal drugs like Ibuprofen. These medications can offer
temporary relief from the discomfort in your joint. Contacting your
dentist to receive prescriptions for strong anti-inflammatory or pain
relief medications, anti-depressants and muscle relaxants can also help
those who wish to obtain relief from the severe symptoms of the problem.

4. Stretches and Gentle Exercises

A good dentist is someone who can offer information about the best
exercises to help your jaw relax,  and ensure that its movements are
safe for your dental and oral health. Exercises and stretches ideal in
treating TMJ disorders are those that strengthen and stretch your jaw

5. Surgical Procedures

Your chosen dentist may also recommend surgical procedures if your
previous treatments do not provide desirable results in treating TMJ.
One famous surgical procedure for TMJ disorder is arthrocentesis. This
process involves inserting needles into your joints as a means of
irrigating fluid directly to the joints and getting rid of any
inflammatory byproducts and debris.

Your dentist may also suggest
surgical procedures designed to replace or repair your joint, in case
the pain in your jaw does not go away with conservative treatments.
These surgeries are also beneficial in case structural problems trigger
the disorder.

TMJ Doctor in Phoenix, AZ

He is an experienced dental professional with a well-trained and
proficient staff. Expect to cure your TMJ disorder after visiting Dr.
Flowers’ dental office and dealing with him and his highly competent

Don’t wait any longer than you have to. Call Dr. Flowers now at  (623) 551-8000.

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