TMJ disorders are conditions that affect the ligaments and muscles surrounding the temporomandibular joints. The TMJ joints connect your skull to your lower jawbone and help in movements like speaking and chewing.
With symptoms ranging from jaw pain and tenderness to facial pain, headaches, and earaches, seeking treatment is essential to living a pain-free life.
How Is TMJ Diagnosed?
TMJ is mostly diagnosed during dental checkups. Your dentist observes the range of motion as you open and close your mouth, feeling around your jaw joints to identify any areas of discomfort.
Should there be any discomfort, they might take X-rays to examine your jaw joints and determine the extent of the damage. Some X-rays that your doctor might take include:
- CBCT (cone beam computed tomography) scans: This type of X-ray captures thousands of images of your jaw, teeth, sinuses, and facial bones, combining them to provide a detailed 3-D image.
- MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scans: These X-rays examine the soft tissue around your jaw joints, showing the position of the inflammation, disk, and possible jaw locking.
- Panoramic X-rays: These X-rays show an overview of your teeth, jaw, and TMJ.
How Is TMJ Treated?
While there are cases where TMJ symptoms go away without treatment, your physician might refer you to a specialist if the symptoms persist.
TMJ treatment can range from medication and simple self-care routines to injections and surgery. For instance, your physician might recommend:
- Medication: Often used alongside other non-surgical treatments, medication like muscle relaxants and anti-inflammatories can help you relieve the pain TMJ disorders cause.
- Therapies: You could wear mouth guards or oral splints or perform exercises that strengthen and stretch your jaw muscles.
- Corrective dental procedures: Some patients can resolve their TMJ disorders by undergoing corrective dental procedures like replacing missing teeth to balance their bite and bring it into proper alignment.
Should these treatments prove unsuccessful, your physician might suggest various alternative procedures, such as:
- Trigger-point injections
- Radio wave therapy
Physicians often recommend surgery as a last resort, with common surgical procedures including:
- Open-joint surgery to replace or repair the joint
- Arthrocentesis to remove debris and inflammatory byproducts
- TMJ arthroscopy as an alternative to open-joint surgery
Say Goodbye to Your TMJ Pain
Regardless of the extent of your condition, you can trust the professional and caring team we have at Tawil Physical Therapy & Sports Performance to help.
Call Tawil Physical Therapy & Sports Performance at (201) 877-5166 to schedule your consultation and let us provide you with the treatment you need for your TMJ disorder.