Untreated TMJ Pain Can Cause a Lifetime of Misery

Untreated TMJ Pain Can Cause a Lifetime of Misery

Jun 01, 2020

Temporomandibular joints exist on both sides of the jaw and a TMJ disorder can be painful in your jaw joint and the muscles controlling the movement of the jaw. Precise reasons for developing a TMJ disorder haven’t been identified as they are difficult to determine. The pain could be a result of many factors like genetics, jaw injury, or arthritis.

The pain and discomfort associated with TMJ disorders are usually temporary and can be self-managed. As a last resort surgery may be considered when conservative treatments have failed. However, if TMJ treatment is not obtained the disorder can leave you with a lifetime of discomfort and misery.

The Symptoms Affecting TMJ Disorders

If you are affected by a TMJ disorder you may experience some of the symptoms of this condition as mentioned below:

  • Tenderness and pain in the jaw.
  • Aching pain in or around your ear.
  • One or both of your temporomandibular joints experiencing pain.
  • Difficulty or pain when chewing.
  • Difficulties with opening and closing your mouth because of the locking of the joint.

TMJ disorders cause a clicking sound or grating sensation when opening the mouth to chew. However, if the problem is not limiting the movement of your jaw with clicking you may not require TMJ treatment.

When to Consider Consulting a Doctor

Medical attention must be sought if you are experiencing tenderness in your jaw or persistent pain. It will also become necessary if you cannot open and close your jaw completely. Your dentist or a TMJ specialist will discuss the reasons and TMJ pain relief measures for your problem.

The Causes of TMJ Disorders

The TMJ joint combines a hinge action that has sliding motions. The portions of the bone interacting in the joint are accompanied by cartilage and separated by a tiny shock-absorbing disk that normally smoothens the movement. Painful TMJ disorders begin to occur when:

Erosion of the disk occurs to move it out of its alignment.

Arthritis affects the cartilage of the joints.

Damages to the joint occur because of an impact or blow.

However, the causes of TMJ disorders aren’t clear in many cases.

Risk Factors Associated with TMJ Disorders

Some factors that can increase the risks of developing TMJ disorders are the following:

  • Different types of arthritis like osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Longtime chronic bruxism leading to grinding and clenching of the teeth.
  • Diseases of the connective tissue affecting the TMJ joint.

Diagnosing TMJ disorders

If you visit Dental Impressions with the problem your symptoms will be discussed by the dental professional who will also examine your jaw. He or she will be listening to or feeling your jaw asking you to open and close your mouth to observe the range of motion. They will as well press on areas around the jaw to precisely identify the sites of the pain and discomfort.

If a problem is suspected you will need dental x-rays to examine your teeth and jaw or even a CT scan that can provide detailed images of the bones in the jaw joint. MRI scans can also reveal issues with the disk of the joint and the surrounding soft tissue.

TMJ Treatment for Pain Relief

The dentist may recommend over-the-counter pain relievers and anti-inflammatories to relieve the pain you are experiencing. If over-the-counter pain medications are not effective prescription-strength pain relievers may be recommended for a limited period. Tricyclic antidepressants that are used for depression but also assist with bruxism and sleeplessness may also be recommended. If your TMJ disorder is a result of muscle spasms you may be recommended muscle relaxants for a few weeks as a method for TMJ pain relief.

Dentists also believe nondrug therapies can relieve TMJ disorders and may suggest occlusal appliances which will help you to benefit and relieve the pain you are experiencing from the problem. Physical therapy and counseling may also be included in the TMJ treatment offered by the dentist.

As mentioned earlier the symptoms of TMJ disorders and disappear without treatment but if your symptoms persist the better option for you would be to seek treatment unless you are prepared to undergo a lifetime of misery and discomfort. The problem may not seem concerning and isn’t in most cases but it is no reason for you to suffer from the pain and discomfort when treatments are easily available from your dentist.

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