TMJ joint is located near the skull and is the point of connection between the skull and mandible. The TMJ syndrome is a condition in which the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is inflamed. Symptoms exhibited by patients suffering from this dysfunction are varied. Let us find more about the disorder through this article.
The joint location itself makes it too vulnerable to damage. The region between mandible and skull is the meeting point of different muscles, nerves and bones. Even a slight damage or injury caused to this part of the body shows up in the form of this complex syndrome.
Temporomandibular joint disorder is mainly associated with over-activity of jaws and other such related habits. Grinding and clenching of teeth repeatedly are the triggers leading to TMJ dysfunction. Certain anatomical factors like faulty jaw alignment; and impact injuries to the jawline may result into this disorder. Spasm in the neck region, chronic stress and trauma are also amongst the many causes of this joint disorder. Let us find more about the symptoms that are exhibited by those suffering from TMJ dysfunction.
TMJ Dysfunction Symptoms
Jaw pain immediately in front of the tragus of the ear is one of the important TMJ symptoms. People with TMJ dysfunction syndrome may show signs of jaw popping and clicking sounds while eating and yawning. The other symptoms of this disorder are backache, headache, vertigo, stiffness of shoulders, etc. Stretching the jaws becomes difficult and therefore, one cannot open the mouth completely. Most of the symptoms are experienced in morning hours and especially after a period of inactivity and rest.
How is TMJ Dysfunction Treated?
The treatment measures for this syndrome include the following. First of all, pain management is the primary line of treatment even before diagnosing the cause. Medications like acetaminophen and aspirin are used for the purpose of reducing pain. Additionally, steroids, muscle relaxants and tranquilizers may also be prescribed to reduce spasm depending upon the severity of pain and inflammation. If the problem is not serious enough, the time needed for recovery doesn’t go beyond 2 weeks. While treating this syndrome, patients must not be allowed to eat foods that are sticky and hard to chew. This would help reduce the pressure on bones. In the acute stage, cold packs accompanied by jaw rest can help relieve the pain to a great extent. The use of occlusal splints proves to be helpful in the treatment of TMJ dysfunction associated with misalignment of teeth. Relaxation exercises are also prescribed in the treatment of this syndrome.
Treating with biofeedback headband helps in correcting para-functional jaw habits. The biofeedback headband is a device used to sense the action of clenching of teeth by means of electromyography. Movement of muscles (i.e. temporal muscles) that participate in the grinding action of teeth is also monitored by means of this headband. The causes that result into TMJ dysfunction are many. The TMJ treatment options are therefore, devised for the specific condition to be treated.