Common Treatment Options for TMJ

TMJ, or Temporomandibular Joint Disorder is a condition where the hinge in the jaw doesn’t work properly. This particular hinge is one that is very complex as it performs several movements. It ensures the lower jaw can move forward, side-to-side and backward. It’s like its own system made up of muscles, discs, bones and ligaments all working together. When someone has TMJ, the jaw feels like it is popping, clicking, or getting stuck in place. Experts have not yet determined why it becomes misaligned.


What are the symptoms of TMJ?

The broad range of symptoms for TMJ sometimes makes it difficult to diagnose since they are also symptoms of other types of problems. The signs that accompany TMJ are also present if there are other problems present, but some of the more commonly reported symptoms of TMJ are:

  • Pain in the area of the jaw, ear or face
  • Headaches that are similar to migraines
  • Pain or pressure behind the eyes or in the ear
  • Popping or clicking sound when the mouth is being opened or closed
  • A jaw that gets stuck or feels out of place
  • Facial swelling
  • Tender jaw muscles


How is TMJ Diagnosed?

When you go to the Markham dentist, they will check the jaw area for popping or clicking sounds. They will also see if there is any tenderness in the region of the jaw. He will also take some time to inspect the jaw to see if the jaw is working properly; and they will check your bite to see if it is causing problems with chewing or facial muscles.

Sometimes, they will take an x-ray of the full face to get a good in depth look at the jaws and teeth. This can also help eliminate the possibility of other existing problems needing treatment. In some cases, you will then be referred to an oral surgeon for treatment and care. And your dentist may suggest seeing an orthodontist to make sure the joints, teeth and muscles work together like they are supposed to.


What are the treatment options for TMJ?

Unless there is something that can be surgically repaired, there is not an easy cure for TMJ. But the dentist may have several options for helping reduce the symptoms you are experiencing. These may include any one of these methods:

  • Medication may be prescribed in an attempt to eliminate spasms or pain. Muscle relaxers, anti-inflammatory meds or pain relievers may offer some relief.
  • Night guards are often suggested to help alleviate the harmful effect of clenching or grinding the teeth especially at night.
  • Relaxation techniques are commonly taught to help gain better control over the muscles and jaw tension. Some dentists may suggest you find counseling or training to help control stressors.
  • In some cases, the dentist may use other procedures to like replacing teeth that are missing or using crowns, braces or bridges to balance out the biting surfaces. TMJ can be improved just by correcting bite problems.