The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) acts as a sliding hinge linking your mandible (lower jaw) to your skull. It is found on each side of your head, enabling a convenient jaw movement. Therefore, patients suffering from temporomandibular disorder (TMD) experience pain in their jaw joint and the muscles that steer their jaw movement. While the exact cause of pain is often difficult to determine, it can result from several medical issues such as arthritis, genetics, and jaw injury.
What are the common signs and symptoms of TMJ disorder?
Most often, patients suffering from TMJ disorder experience temporary pain and discomfort that is relieved with self-care and management or non-surgical treatments. TMJ disorder symptoms may come in different forms depending on the root cause and seriousness of the condition. However, here are some of the typical TMJ disorder symptoms:
- Limited jaw movement
- Pain or tenderness of the jaw
- Pain in one of both the temporomandibular joints
- Earache and tinnitus (ringing) in and around your ear
- Locking of the jaw (finding it hard to open or close your mouth)
- Dental issues
- The abnormal or involuntary shift in the jaw
- Odd clicking sound from the site of TMJ
What are the causes of TMJ disorder?
Trauma to the jaw or joint plays a significant role in causing TMJ disorders. However, the other conditions that can lead to TMJ disorders can include:
- Growth disorders
- Habitual grinding or clenching of the teeth
- Structural jaw issues present at birth
- Joint damage by a blow or other rigorous impact.
- Arthritis associated joint cartilage damage
- Eroding and misalignment of the disc.
What are the risk factors linked with TMJ disorder?
Listed below are some of the factors that increase the risk of developing TMJ disorder
- Jaw injury.
- Different types of arthritis- osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
- Connective tissue diseases lead to TMJ disorder.
- Chronic (long-term) grinding or clenching of teeth.
What are the possible home remedies to cure TMJ disorders?
Fortunately, you can treat the symptoms associated with TMJ disorder by practicing specific self-care techniques at home. Thus, to ease the discomfort and pain, you can try these tips:
- Use ice to minimize the swelling.
- Avoid chewing gums or hard-to-chew foods.
- Take appropriate measures to reduce stress.
- Lessen your jaw movements.
- Practice jaw-stretching exercises to improve your jaw movement.
When to seek a doctor’s consultation?
Consider seeking immediate medical attention if you encounter persistent pain or tenderness in your jaw. Moreover, suppose you experience any discomfort in opening or closing your jaw. In that case, you should consult a well-experienced dentist or TMJ specialist at the earliest to discuss the possible causes and treatment alternatives for your condition. Your doctor may advise you on surgery as a last resort if all the self-management, care, and non-surgical conservative measures are unable to offer you relief or improve your condition.
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