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TEMPOROMANDIBULAR DISORDER


If you are facing issues related to the movement of your jaw and the muscles surrounding it, you might be suffering from Temporomandibular disorder (TMD), a localized pain disorder. Temporomandibular joints contain tendons, bones, and muscles and help the jaw in its movements for chewing, talking, and yawning. It is a sliding hinge and one of the most complex joints in the body that connects the jaw to the temporal bones of the skull. An injury to the jaw or the muscles of the head and neck can lead to temporomandibular disorders.

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What causes Temporomandibular disorder?

Depending upon the cause, jaw pain can occur on both sides of the jaw or only on one side. According to many dentists, there is no particular cause for this disorder. However, there are some speculated causes of TMD as follows:

  • Injury to the teeth
  • Injury to the jaw
  • Misalignment of the jaw or teeth
  • Stress
  • Teeth clenching or grinding
  • Excessive gum chewing

Symptoms of TMD:

TMD can be painful and requires effective treatment. Look out for the symptoms and be one step ahead at treating TMD.

  • Earache and ear pain
  • Jaw popping and clicking
  • Jaw pain
  • Headaches
  • Stiff jaw muscles
  • Locking of the jaw joint

Treating TMD:

TMD encompasses various disorders that may overlap. These are as follows:

  • Issues in the muscles that affect the movements of the jaw
  • Pain in the face surrounding the jaw joint
  • Issues related to the joint itself

Muscular pain and other issues in the joints related to a Temporomandibular disorder can go away with time. However, in some cases, the symptoms recede and come back again. Thus TMD needs treatment and for successful treatment, an accurate diagnosis is paramount.

DIAGNOSIS:

A dentist or doctor discusses the symptoms with the patient and examines the jaw. He or she:

  • Feels the jaw movement
  • Observe the motion in the jaw
  • Asks to go for a dental X-ray to examine the teeth
  • Advices to go for a CT scan which provides images of the bones involved in the movement of the joint

Treatment:

The following medications can help you find relief from pain associated with TMD:

  • Pain Relievers: Strong pain relievers can be prescribed by doctors and dentists to a patient with severe pain due to TMD
  • Tricyclic antidepressants: If the patient suffers from sleeplessness and severe pain due to TMD, these medications are prescribed
  • Muscle Relaxants: These are extremely beneficial for patients with TMD. They help in relieving pain caused by muscle spasms.
    Therapies:
  • Mouth Guards or oral splints: People with jaw pain can immensely benefit from wearing these devices over their teeth.
  • Physical Therapy: Several exercises that help in stretching and strengthening the jaw muscles can be beneficial.

Surgeries:

When none of the above treatments work, the doctor suggests going for certain surgical procedures like:

  •  Arthrocentesis
  •  Injections
  •  Arthroscopy
  •  Modified condylotomy
  •  Open-joint surgery

Authored By Dr.C.M.Bejoy Mony, M.D.S.

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