Temporomandibular Joint is like a sliding hinge that connects the lower jaw with the temporal bones of the skull. The joint is located on both sides of the head in front of the ears and helps the jaw open and move up and down and side to side, so you can talk, chew and yawn. Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) syndrome is a disorder in temporomandibular joint which causes pain in the jaw joint and muscles that control jaw movement.

Symptoms of Temporomandibular Joint Syndrome

People between 20-40 years develop Temporomandibular Joint Syndrome mostly. Research shows that women are more prone to develop TMJ syndrome compared to men.

Some symptoms of TMJ syndrome include:

  • Pain or tenderness of jaw
  • Pain in one or both of the temporomandibular joints
  • Aching pain in and around ear
  • Difficulty chewing or pain while chewing
  • Aching facial pain
  • Locking of the joint, making it difficult to open or close mouth

Some people also produce clicking sound and grating sensation at the time of eating or opening mouth.

Causes of Temporomandibular Joint Syndrome

The exact cause of TMJ syndrome is yet unknown. It is believed that it occurs due to some problems with the muscles of the jaw or with the parts of the joint itself. Injury to the jaw, the joint, or the muscles of head and neck may also develop TMJ syndrome. Painful TMJ syndrome can be caused by:

  • The disk erodes or moves out of its proper alignment
  • The joint's cartilage is damaged by arthritis
  • The joint is damaged by a blow or other impact

The risk factors of TMJ syndrome include:

  • Various types of arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis
  • Jaw injury
  • Long-term (chronic) grinding or clenching of teeth
  • Certain connective tissue diseases that cause problems that may affect the temporomandibular joint

Diagnosis of TMJ syndrome

After listening to your problem, your ENT specialist or a dentist may examine your jaw to see if there is swelling or tenderness. Besides, to get a full view of your jaw your doctor may recommend for an X-Ray, CT scan or MRI. X-Ray provides a full view of your jaw, temporomandibular joint and teeth, MRI shows if the TMJ disc is in the proper position as your jaw moves and a CT scan shows the bony detail of the joint.

Treatment of TMJ syndrome

Certain home remedies can relieve your pain due to TMJ syndrome. These remedies include:

  • eat soft foods
  • use ice to reduce swelling
  • reduce jaw movements
  • avoid chewing gum and tough foods (like beef jerky)
  • reduce stress
  • use jaw-stretching exercises to improve jaw movement

If the home remedies and exercise fail to improve your pain caused by TMJ disorder, you must consult an ENT or a dentist. Depending upon the condition and severity of pain, the doctor may prescribe you certain things such as:

  • pain medications
  • medications to relax the muscles of the jaw
  • medications to help reduce swelling in the jaw
  • stabilization splints or bite guards to prevent teeth grinding
  • Botox to reduce tension in the muscle and nerves of the jaw
  • cognitive behavioral therapy to help reduce stress

In extreme cases the doctors may recommend for surgery which include:

  • Corrective dental treatment to improve bite and align of your teeth
  • Arthrocentesis to remove fluid and debris from the joint
  • Surgery to replace the joint

About CURA

The globally acclaimed doctors at CURA Multispeciality Hospital provide exclusive treatments for TMJ syndrome. Under their treatment and guidance, many people have got rid of their problems.