TMJ Disorders: An Overview, Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment
A jaw condition known as Temporomandibular joint and muscle disorder (TMJ) can be very painful and affect muscles that control jaw movement. An estimated 10 million or more Americans suffer from this problem. One of the remedies of this potentially long-term dysfunction is the use of implant dentures.
Nature and Causes of TMJ
The lower jaw, known as the mandible, is connected to the temporal bone on the side of your head. Its motion can be felt when placing your fingers on the front of your ears while opening your mouth. A complex disc acts as a shock absorber for the jaw muscles when chewing food. A displaced disc or dislocated jaw are some of the factors that can trigger a TMJ disorder, which can lead to secondary health issues such as rheumatic diseases.
Not much is known as to how these conditions affect each other, but it’s clear that TMJ disorders are commonly driven by trauma to the jaw. Since the problem is more common with women, scientists suspect that female hormones and TMJ disorders may be related.
Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment
For many people TMJ symptoms simply come and go without much complication. But when jaw pain persists, it’s important to see a dental professional to consider your options. Symptoms tend to develop without much warning. Jaw noises can be a symptom, but usually pain in the face, jaw or neck is also involved to indicate a serious problem. Presently there are no standard methods for diagnosing TMJ disorders.
While more studies are necessary, conventional treatments include relaxing the jaw and eating softer foods. Dentists may prescribe pain medication or a mouth guard. In extreme cases implant dentures can be used, but it’s important for patients to have a full understanding of this surgical procedure and its effects.