What is TMJ?
Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) syndrome is a condition that can be disruptive to daily life. It's important to find the cause of the condition to be able to treat it effectively. Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) syndrome is a condition that causes pain in the joint that connects the jaw to the skull.
Some ways that you may know you have TMJ syndrome include:
- Jaw pain
- Jaw clicking and/or popping
- Jaw locking up
- Pain in the temples
- Muscles in the jaw area feel stiff or sore
If you are experiencing one or more of the above symptoms and you think you may have TMJ, a medical professional can help you know for certain.
A dentist in Lincoln Square would do a thorough physical examination of the joint and muscles to look for pain, tenderness, popping, or clicking. They would also take into consideration your medical history to look for clues that might point to a cause.
In some cases, you can be referred to a specialist such as a dentist whose specialty is disorders, facial specialist, or ENT (otolaryngologist).
It can be the case that there is not a clear cause of this condition in some patients. There are numerous causes that have been found to contribute to it, including:
- Trauma to the jaw
- Grinding the teeth
- Clenching the jaw muscles
- Inflammatory disorders like arthritis
- Chewing gum
- Wearing braces
- Misalignment of the jaw and teeth
The options for treatment and pain relief vary with the severity of each individual's condition.
- Some home treatment options people may use include:
- Icing or using cold pack on the jaw
- Learning stress relief techniques
- Working to improve posture
- Eating soft foods
- Avoiding chewing gum
- Aspirin or other non-prescription pain relief medicine
In more severe cases, medical-based treatments may be necessary. These treatments can include:
- A dental splint to keep the jaw and teeth aligned
- Botox injections to stop the jaw muscles from clenching
- Physical therapy for the jaw and neck
- Trigger point acupuncture
- Surgery or dental surgery