Identifying and treating TMJ – Oviedo, Florida

TMJ is the abbreviation for temporomandibular joint dysfunction. TMJ is a group of conditions that can affect several aspects of a patient’s jaw. The most common effect of TMJ is pain in the patient’s jaw and surrounding areas, such as jaw muscles and joints that control the movement of the jaw. TMJ is often difficult to pinpoint, as the symptoms and indications are often similar to other conditions. Furthermore, TMJ may be present alongside other conditions, such as jaw injury or arthritis. Patients who experience jaw pain should schedule an orthodontic consultation with a specialist who treats TMJ and other jaw issues.

What Is TMJ?

In order to understand TMJ, it’s important to first understand the joint after which the condition is named: the temporomandibular joint. This joint essentially acts like a sliding hinge that connects a patient’s skull and jawbone. In most cases, TMJ can be managed through special care or non-surgical dental or orthodontic treatments. However, severe cases may require surgical treatment. This is why patients should discuss any potential TMJ symptoms with a qualified orthodontic specialist as soon as possible. The sooner the issue is corrected, the less risk of permanent damage faced by the patient.

TMJ Symptoms

TMJ symptoms can be misleading or difficult to determine, due to the fact that they are often similar to other dental and orthodontic conditions. Additionally, TMJ may be complicated by the presence of other conditions that affect the patient’s jaw. Patients who notice jaw pain and discomfort should take note of their symptoms for discussion with a specialist.

TMJ symptoms may include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Aching pain within and around the ear
  • Tenderness and pain in the jaw
  • Aching pains in the face
  • Discomfort while eating or difficulty chewing
  • Jaw joint locking, which creates difficulty opening and closing the mouth

Treating TMJ

More fortunate patients may find that their TMJ symptoms relieve themselves without treatment. However, persisting symptoms commonly indicate the need for treatment. Bite guards may be inserted over the teeth to help alleviate jaw pain. In severe cases, surgery may be used to replace or repair the joint.

TMJ Pain Relief

Patients with severe pain may be recommended to take over-the-counter or prescription strength pain relievers, muscle relaxers, or sedatives. Corticosteroid injections may also be used for pain relief. Some patients may also benefit from physical therapy or counseling to understand how their habits or behaviors may increase TMJ pain.

Gittess Orthodontist Oviedo, FL

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