TMJ is short for temporomandibular joints and is the common name given to disorders affecting these joints, which connect the jaw to the skull. Patients who suffer from temporomandibular joint disorders may experience a host of symptoms, including even a lack of ability to move the jaw. Here is a thorough look at the disorder and how it can be treated by Dr. Nazari at our Houston dental office.
The Causes of Temporomandibular Joint Disorders
TMJ disorders can arise from inside or outside joints. In a majority of cases, the condition develops after repeated jaw joint strain associated with teeth grinding. However, such strain can also arise from uneven force placed on the jaw joints by orthodontic problems or excessive intake of hard or chewy foods. In other cases, systemic arthritis includes the jaw joints in the areas it affects.
Signs That May Indicate Temporomandibular Joint Disorders
The earliest symptoms of TMJ may appear in the jaw joints themselves, but symptoms may spread to other parts of the face and nearby areas as the condition worsens. Clicking from the jaw joints is often noticed by patients as the joints start to deteriorate. Pain that first arises in the jaw joints may be joined by headaches and pain throughout the face, head, neck, and shoulders. Swelling, a telltale sign of inflammation, may also be present around the jaw joints. Problems opening and closing the jaw may come later.
Temporomandibular Joint Disorder Treatment Options
A number of treatments may be advised at our Houston office, depending on the stage of this condition. Early on, using oral appliances to restore normal jaw positioning, eliminate jaw strain, and prevent damage from teeth grinding may be recommended. Anti-inflammatory drugs may be used to reduce swelling and promote healing. Muscle relaxants, antidepressants, or sedatives may be used to reduce teeth grinding. Surgery can be used to resolve persistent cases.
Left untreated, TMJ can reduce quality of life and even affect overall health by limiting dietary choices and social interaction. You can contact our dentist in Houston to find out more about this condition and receive an exam to find out about options for treatment.
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