What is TMJ?
TMJ, or temporomandibular joint condition, indicates that the hinge linking the upper and lower jaw isn’t really working appropriately. This hinge is among the most intricate joints in the body, responsible for moving the lower jaw forward, backward and side-to-side. Any problem that avoids this intricate system of muscles, ligaments, discs and bones from working as it should is called TMJ.
Typically, TMJ feels like your jaw is popping or clicking and even “getting stuck” for a moment. The specific cause of this misalignment is frequently difficult to determine.
What are the Symptoms of TMJ?
TMJ conditions have numerous signs and symptoms. It’s frequently hard to know for sure if you have TMJ, since one or all of these symptoms can likewise exist for other issues. Your dentist can help make a correct medical diagnosis by taking a complete medical and dental history, carrying out a scientific examination and taking suitable X-rays.
A few of the most common TMJ symptoms include:
- Headaches (typically simulating migraines), earaches, and pain and pressure behind the eyes
- A clicking or popping sound when you open or close your mouth
- Pain induced by yawning, opening the mouth extensively or chewing
- Jaws that “get stuck,” lock or head out
- Inflammation of the jaw muscles
- A sudden change in the way the upper and lower teeth fit together
How is TMJ Treated?
While there is no single cure for TMJ, there are various treatments you can follow that may decrease your symptoms significantly. Your dental professional may recommend one or more of the following:
- Trying to get rid of muscle spasm and pain by using moist heat or taking medication such as muscle-relaxants, aspirin or other non-prescription pain-relievers, or anti-inflammatory drugs
- Decreasing the dangerous impacts of clinching and grinding by wearing an appliance, often called a bite plate or splint. Customized to fit your mouth, the appliance slips over the upper teeth and keeps them from grinding versus the lower teeth
- Learning relaxation strategies to assist manage muscle tension in the jaw. Your dentist may suggest you look for training or counseling in order to help eliminate stress
- When the jaw joints are influenced and other treatments have actually been unsuccessful, jaw joint surgery might be recommended
Treatment of Closed Lock of the Jaw
Although it is not the most typical of TMJ issues, closed lock is very frightening for those who have it. In its most severe stage, the mouth is almost impossible to open since of both a physical block by a displaced disk and excellent pain. Since of this, surgery has actually long been the treatment of option, given that it was presumed that this was the only way to get the disk back in location. However, it was also understood that symptoms can improve with simple symptom management, or a combination of symptom management and physical therapy. This triggered a group at the University of Minnesota to carry out a randomized scientific trial of four treatments for Closed Lock:
- Medical management
Medical management (MM) was pharmacological treatment of pain and swelling with anti-inflammatory representatives and analgesics, while Rehabilitation was a combination of MM with dental splints, physical therapy and psychology. Arthroscopy suggests placing a little tube into the joint so that the surgeon can see inside, rinse the joint (lavage) and remove little pieces of tissue. In Arthroplasty, the joint is cut open so that the specialist can eliminate larger pieces of tissue, which could be the entire TMJ disc and make repair works.
The researchers utilized two steps to measure symptoms and signs, the Craniomandibular Index and Symptom Severity Index. The first measures motion, joint sounds, tenderness of muscles and joints, while the 2nd steps the pain- its intensity, tolerability, frequency and duration. They took measurements prior to treatment began, then at enhancing periods from the end of treatment to 5 years after treatment.
The main finding was that all four groups were far better 3 months after treatment, and that small improvements occurred out to 5 years. However, there was no difference between the 4 groups at any time during the study, which surprised a lot of individuals.
The authors concluded that, “Primary treatment for patients with closed lock should include medical management or rehab”. However, it is difficult for me to comprehend why they advised rehab because medical management is simpler, takes less time and expenses much less. So there is really no validation in this study for anything more than managing inflammation and pain, which can be done by either a dental expert or a physician.
What if my jaw gets stuck and pops?
The majority of the time TMJ is triggered by swelling and inflammation inside the joint space. This is frequently a dental problem, set off by grinding of the teeth, or misalignment of the teeth and the bite. As such, it is typically treated with splints or other methods to help with jaw alignment, and your dentist will be an expert on these type of treatments. At the very same time, anti inflammatory medications may be had to help reduce the pain, and physical therapy is often likewise recommended to help get you back to operating generally again. In the more severe cases, referral to a specialist might be required for a more invasive treatment. Start by keeping the visit you have actually already set up with your doctor!