Temporomandibular disorders are conditions that involve the temporomandibular joint or TMJ. There are two TMJ’s, one at each side of your face. The TMJ is the link between the temporal bone of the skull and the jawbone, otherwise known as the mandible.
Although very few people are familiar with the TMJ, they use it every day to breathe out of their mouths, speak, and eat. The TMJ is, therefore, one of the essential joints in your body. If you suffer from a temporomandibular disorder (TMD), you will find it difficult and painful to perform crucial oral functions and movements.
To add to the challenge that TMD’s pose, it is not as easy to find their exact cause. When determining the cause of a TMD, there are many factors to consider, for example, genetics, other joint conditions, and past injuries such as sports injuries or motor vehicle accidents.
The good news is that, although they are painful and difficult to diagnose, TMD’s are easily treatable. With focused care, splint therapy and/or medication, one can effectively reduce pain and inflammation that are the result of temporomandibular disorders.
If you experience pain and sensitivity in your jaw, consistent pain in and around your ear, or discomfort while eating, you may suffer from a TMD. Chronic facial pain or difficulty to open and close your jaw can also be indications of a TMD.
If you experience these symptoms, schedule an appointment with a medical professional. Dental health care providers like Vellore Woods Dental will also be able to provide you with treatment to alleviate the symptoms of a TMD.
What are the Common Causes of a Temporomandibular Disorder?
The list of possible causes of a TMD is quite long. Disc slips, cartilage damage caused by arthritis, and blows to your jaw can all cause pain and discomfort in your temporomandibular joints. Even upon close examination by a specialist, it may be a challenge to determine the exact cause of TMJ-related pain.
Treatment of temporomandibular joint problems typically involves the targeting of the masseter muscle and the medial pterygoid muscle. A dental professional may choose to treat the problem intraorally instead of working with the joint itself.
By gently massaging the medial pterygoid muscle from the inside of the mouth for around 30 seconds, the muscle may start to release, and you may begin to feel instant relief. Treatment may also involve stimulating the masseter muscle from the outside of the mouth.
If the pain and discomfort don’t subside, the therapist may also massage and loosen up the jaw-closing muscle called the temporalis.
The techniques in combination with medication can provide instant relief from temporomandibular joint pain and discomfort. In severe cases, it may be necessary to undergo surgery. Fortunately, this is seldom necessary.
Dental treatment of TMD’s can involve providing you a temporary appliance that separates the teeth and that allows all the jaw muscles to relax. Once this happens, the jawbone moves into the sockets at the base of your skull, which is its natural biological position.
Vellore Woods Dental in the Toronto area, we can provide you with practical and long-lasting TMJ therapy. If you experience pain or discomfort around your facial muscles, ears, or jaw, contact us today to schedule an examination.