Temporomandibular Joints (TMJ)
TMJ Treatment in Toledo
Temporomandibular joints (TMJ) connect the lower jaw (mandible) to the skull. Problems arising in this area may cause various symptoms such as headaches, popping sounds in the jaw, and facial pain.
What is TMJ?
Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) syndrome is a condition of facial pain in the joints of the lower jaw.
The causes of problems are multiple, and can include congenital anomalies, arthritis, fractures, dislocations, and tension-relieving habits -- such as jaw clenching or tooth grinding behaviors (bruxism) -- which may cause muscle spasms in the jaw and dental misalignment. Nevertheless, physical examination may be normal.
What are the Symptoms of TMJ?
Jaw pain or tenderness of the jaw
Dull, aching facial pain
Biting or chewing difficulty or discomfort
Clicking sound while chewing or opening the mouth
Grating sensation while chewing
Decreased ability to open or close the mouth
How is TMJ Diagnosed?
A physical examination may reveal tenderness of the TMJ and connecting muscles. A dental examination may show malalignment of the bite. In some cases, physical examination is normal.
TMJ X-rays may show abnormalities, but can be difficult to read. An MRI of the jaw area may occasionally be performed.
How is TMJ Treated?
Treatment is based on determining the underlying cause of the problem and correcting it, if possible.
Reconstructive surgery of the jaw is rarely required. Abnormalities in alignment of the jaw can be corrected by different devices applied by dentists or orthodontists. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDS) help reduce inflammation in the jaw stemming from arthritis or other causes of inflammation.
Muscle spasms caused by tension may be relieved by moist heat packs to the face, soft foods that require less chewing, muscle relaxant medications, or devices to prevent clenching or teeth grinding at night. Relaxation exercises may also be effective.
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