The temporomandibular joint is a hinge that connects the jaw to the temporal bone of the skull, in front of each ear. It helps to move the jaw up and down and side to side, while talking, chewing and yawning.

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This is why problems with the jaw and facial muscles are often called temporomandibular disorders (TMD) or temporomandibular joint (TMJ).

What causes temporomandibular disorders

(TMD)?

Currently, dental professionals do not know what causes temporomandibular disorder (TMD). However, experts believe that symptoms arising from problems with the jaw muscles or with parts of the jaw joint can cause the disease.

Injury to the jaw, joints, or muscles of the head and neck that can result from a heavy blow or whiplash can all lead to TMD. In addition, some other causes include:

Teeth grinding puts a lot of pressure on joints. The soft edge or disc portion of the mandibular joint is dislocated. Arthritis. Stress, which can make you tense up your face and jaw muscles or grind your teeth.

How do symptoms occur

?TMD is often painful and uncomfortable. It can be temporary or last for many years and can affect one or both sides. It is more common in women than men, and it is most common in people between the ages of 20 and 40.

Common symptoms include:

Pain or tenderness in the face, jaw joint area, neck and shoulders, in or around the ears when chewing, speaking, or opening the mouth wide. Having trouble trying to open your mouth. Joints on either side of the jaw are stiff, making it difficult to open and close the mouth. Difficulty or pain when chewing food. Tired feeling on your face. Swelling on one side of the face.

In addition, the person may also experience toothache, headache, neck pain, dizziness, earache, hearing loss, upper shoulder pain, and ringing in the ears (tinnitus).

How is TMD diagnosed

?Many other conditions cause similar symptoms – like tooth decay, sinus problems, arthritis or gum disease. To find out what’s causing you, your dentist will ask about your health history and conduct a physical exam.

Currently, to diagnose this disease, the doctor will first focus on the signs that cause this disease such as tooth decay, sinus problems, then the doctor will ask about the health history and progress. physical examination.

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The doctor will examine the patient’s jaw joints for pain and listen for clicks or squeaks when the patient moves them. In addition, the doctor will also make sure that the patient’s jaw works as it should and does not become stiff when opening or closing the mouth. In addition, your doctor will check for bites and problems with your facial muscles.

Your doctor may also order a full face X-ray to check your jaw, temporomandibular joint, and teeth to rule out other problems. In addition, the doctor may order other tests, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or computed tomography (CT) scan.

In addition, the person may be referred to an oral surgeon for further care and treatment. This doctor specializes in surgery in and around the entire face, mouth, and jaw. In addition, you can see an orthodontist to make sure your teeth, muscles, and joints are working as they should.

Home treatment for TMD

Patients may be able to self-treat at home to help relieve TMD symptoms. Your doctor may suggest that you try some of the following:

– Use over-the-counter medications. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as naproxen or ibuprofen, can reduce muscle pain and swelling.

Use warm or cold packs. Apply an ice pack to your face and temple area for about 10 minutes. Do a few simple jaw stretches (if your doctor or physical therapist agrees). Then, place a warm washcloth on the side of your face for about 5 minutes. Do this method a few times per day.

– Eat soft foods. Add yogurt, mashed potatoes, cheese, soups, eggs, fish, cooked fruits and vegetables, beans and whole grains to the menu. Cut food into small pieces to make it easier to chew. Skip hard, crunchy foods (like crackers and raw carrots), foods that require a lot of chewing (like cakes and hard candies), and foods that require you to open your mouth wide for a bite.

– Avoid strong jaw movements.

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Keep yawning and chewing (especially gum or ice) to a minimum, and don’t scream, sing, or do anything that forces your mouth to open wide.

– Do not rest your chin in your hand.

Keep your teeth apart regularly. This will relieve pressure on the jaw. Patients should put their tongue between teeth to control teeth grinding during the day.

Learn relaxation techniques to help loosen the jaw. Patients should ask their dentist if they want physical therapy or massage. Treatment for stress relief as well as other biological responses should be considered.

Traditional method of treatment

Patients should discuss with their doctor the following treatments for TMD:

Medicine. Your doctor may prescribe higher doses of NSAIDs if you need them to relieve pain and swelling. Or your doctor may suggest a muscle relaxer that helps the patient’s jaw relax if the patient grinds their teeth. Besides an anti-anxiety medication to reduce stress, can also aid in the treatment of TMD. In low doses, they can also help reduce or control pain. In addition, muscle relaxants, anti-anxiety medications, and antidepressants may be available by prescription. Jaw guard or brace. These plastic mouthpieces fit over the patient’s upper and lower teeth so as not to touch. They reduce the effects of grinding or grinding and correct the patient’s bite by placing the teeth in a more precise position. Dental impact. Dentists can replace missing teeth and use crowns, bridges, or braces to balance the bite surfaces of the teeth or help correct a bite problem.

Other treatments

If the treatments listed above don’t work, your doctor may recommend one or more of the following:

Transdermal nerve stimulation (TENS). This therapy uses low-level electrical currents to relieve pain by relaxing the jaw joint and facial muscles. It can be done in the dental clinic or at home. Supersonic. Deep heat applied to joints can reduce soreness or improve mobility. Activate the trigger point focus. Pain relievers or anesthetics are injected into soft facial muscles called “trigger points” to relieve pain. Radiation therapy. Radio waves stimulate joints, increasing blood flow and reducing pain. Low level laser treatment. This reduces pain and inflammation and helps the person move their neck more freely and open their mouth wider.

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Surgery for TMD

In addition to the above treatments, surgery is also a common option in treating this condition. Once it’s done, it’s highly reversible, so consult with your doctor about the best types of surgery.

There are three types of surgery for TMD. Depending on the patient’s problem, the doctor can perform the most suitable type of surgery for the patient

Joint poke:

This is a minor surgery that your doctor can perform in the dental office. The doctor will anesthetize the patient, then insert the needle into the joint and rinse it. In addition, the doctor can use a special tool to remove damaged tissue or a part of the disc of the joint that is stuck, or remove the joint.

Arthroscopy of the jaw:

This is a special tool that has a lens and light on it. Thereby, it allows the doctor to see inside the patient’s joint. They may give you a general anesthetic, then the doctor will cut a small piece in front of the ear and insert the instrument. Next, it will be hooked up to a video monitor so the doctor can examine the patient’s joint and the area around it. The doctor can then remove the inflamed tissue or realign the disc or joint. This type of surgery, called minimally invasive, leaves less scarring, fewer complications, and requires a shorter recovery time than primary surgery.

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Open joint surgery:

Depending on the cause of the TMD, arthroscopic surgery may not be possible. You may need this type of surgery if:

The bone structures in the patient’s jaw joint are worn down. The patient has a tumor in or around the joint. The patient’s joints are scarred or full of bones.

To perform this type of surgery, the patient will be given general anesthesia, and then the doctor will open the entire area around the joint for a better view and access. However, it takes longer to heal after surgery, and is more likely to have scarring and nerve injury.