The temporomandibular joints, (TMJ), are the joints and jaw muscles that allow you to open and close your mouth. The joints are located on each side of your face, and both TMJ work together when you chew or speak. The temporomandibular joints are composed of several muscles and ligaments as well as the jaw bone that control movements of the lower jaw (mandible).
Symptoms of Temporomandibular Joint Disorder
If opening and closing your jaw is a painful undertaking, you are likely one of the many people affected by temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD) and you should seek TMJ treatment in Austin TX. TMD can keep you from eating, talking and even sleeping properly. There are a variety of signs and symptoms, making it difficult to diagnose the exact cause. If you have symptoms of TMD, your dentist can help you make a proper diagnosis. Some of the more common symptoms of TMD include:
- A popping or clicking sound when opening or closing your mouth
- Tenderness of the jaw muscles
- Pain in the jaw or face area
- Headaches that mimic migraines, earaches, and pain behind the eyes
- Jaw getting stuck, locked, or goes out of place
- Swelling of the face
- Treatments for TMD
Most TMD problems get better over time and starting with conservative treatments is the best option. If your TMD indicators are mild, a combination of eating soft foods, alternating between ice packs, heat, and special exercises all help relieve painful symptoms. Medications such as anti-inflammatory drugs, muscle relaxants, antianxiety medicines or antidepressants can also be used to combat stress and pain which tend to make TMD symptoms worse.
If basic treatments do not improve your condition your dentist may recommend one or more of the following:
- Trigger-point injections of pain medicine or an anesthetic
- Ultrasound heat treatment combined with physical therapy
- Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation using low-level current to repair joints and muscles
If your TMD symptoms are not stress-related, there may be an issue caused by irregular bites (malocclusions), or disruptions related to jaw misalignments and missing teeth. In some cases, your dentist may recommend correcting an uneven bite by reshaping or adjusting teeth. Orthodontic treatment is another option that may help alleviate TMD symptoms. Surgical solutions are available but are usually only endorsed as a last resort, and very few patients end up requiring this type of surgery.
At Michael Nussbaum, DDS in Austin, Texas we can evaluate any temporomandibular joint you have and help you decide what course of action is right for you. Diagnosis is a very important step before getting any treatment so contact our office today for a comprehensive evaluation and recommendation.