TMJ disorder is a condition that affects the temporomandibular joint – the sliding joint that links the skull to the jaw. The symptoms that indicate TMJ disorder include pain in the muscles and the joints of the jaw, pain in and around the ears, pain or difficulty experienced while chewing, extended facial pain as well as a clicking or grinding sound heard by the patient while chewing or even the complete locking of the jaw, resulting in the inability to open and to close the mouth.
The causes of TMJ disorder usually include the erosion of the shock-absorbing disks that separate the small bones in the jaw joint, the damage of the jaw’s cartilage by teeth grinding, by arthritis or by impact, such as a severe blow. Arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis represent serious risk factors, but in many cases, the condition affects people who are not at risk of illnesses that involve the inflammation of the body’s joints and bones.
In many cases, TMJ disorder disappears on its own, requiring a Centennial dental care doctor’s visit only if the pain or the tenderness in the jaw persists or if the symptoms include a jaw lock as well. The treatment process usually starts with medical tests, such as a head X-ray or an MRI or CT scan, then the doctor will decide whether the treatment with over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs, with hot and cold packs and with a diet consisting of soft foods is sufficient or surgery is necessary.
via Blogger What is TMJ Disorder and How to Treat It