TMJ is a disorder of the jaw joint that may cause pain and a headache. Though it is not a life-threatening disorder, it can lead to persistent discomfort, inflamed joints, and even damage to the teeth. It is important to seek proper medical care as soon as possible to prevent severe consequences. A dentist or doctor can diagnose TMJ and help you achieve better oral health. However, there are no specific tests for this condition.
Some TMJ conditions mimic symptoms of ear, neck, and sinus problems. Hence, a thorough evaluation by a dentist and physician is needed to determine the exact cause. Symptoms may also mimic the symptoms of osteoarthritis, a type of degenerative joint disease. As the result of degeneration of the joint cartilage and underlying bone, the condition may cause hearing loss and facial changes. However, despite these risks, treatment for TMJ is not a difficult or expensive process.
If conservative home remedies fail to relieve the pain, a healthcare provider may recommend an open joint surgery. The downside of this procedure is a longer healing time. There is also a risk of nerve and tissue scarring. Nevertheless, an open joint surgery may be the only option if the symptoms are severe enough to warrant it. Most experts recommend conservative nonsurgical treatments and leave surgery as a last resort. The most common nonsurgical treatment for TMJ disorders involves the use of a thin tube inserted into the joint and a small camera to examine the joints.
A dentist can prescribe a splint or biteplate to reduce the clenching and grinding of the jaw. The dentist may also recommend some dental work or orthodontics for your child. However, extreme cases of TMJ may require surgery to repair the damaged tissue. Although surgery is not an option for many children, a skilled TMJ dentist can help you decide on the best treatment for your specific case. You can also learn how to manage your stress by reducing the amount of strain on your jaw.
Arthroscopic surgery is a procedure that may be performed under general anesthesia. The surgeon will insert a thin instrument with a light and lens. This instrument is hooked up to a video screen. The surgeon may remove inflamed tissues, realign discs, or correct other areas of the TMJ. This procedure is considered a last resort, so it is not recommended if you can do it without pain medication.
TMD symptoms may be accompanied by other medical conditions. Sometimes, the symptoms are subtle, and can go away on their own without proper treatment. For example, a clicking jaw joint could indicate a problem with TMJ. Fortunately, there are plenty of non-invasive methods for treating TMJ. The pain associated with it is often non-existent. But if the clicking sounds don’t cause you pain, you should see a dentist.