The TMJ Disorders
Many adults suffer from temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders, sometimes referred to as chronic facial pain. Some common symptoms include pain in or around the ear, tenderness of the jaw, clicking or popping noises when opening the mouth, or even headaches and neck aches.
The mouth opens and closes because of the work done by our two jaw joints and several jaw muscles. They work together when you chew, speak, and swallow. These structures, including muscles and ligaments, the jaw bone, the mandible (lower jaw) and the two jaw joints are known as the TMJ.
Diagnosis is an important step before treatment. Part of your clinical examination includes checking the joints and muscles for tenderness, clicking, popping or difficulty moving. Your complete medical history may be reviewed, so it is important to keep your dental office record up-to-date. Your dentist may make a replicated model of your teeth to see how your bite fits together. Your dentist may also make specialized x-rays for the TMJ.
Treatments for this TMJ pain may include stress reducing exercises, muscle relaxants, or wearing a mouth protector to prevent teeth grinding. They have been successful for many individuals and your dentist can recommend which is best for you.How much time before the whole process is completed?
We know that the healing of a skin cut takes days. Healing of damaged joints is slower. TMJ treatment typically requires more than two months to show some results. This is simply due to the fact that healing of jaw joints, the associated cartilage and muscles requires time. Occasionally, fixing and repairing the bite/teeth may be needed to ensure predictability.How long will the effect last?
It is known that recurrence is not uncommon in TMJ disorders. However, if the cause was sorted out before, re-treatment is usually rather straight forward.