Temporomandibular joint, or TMJ, is a complicated system of bones, muscles, and tendons that allows the jaw to open and close. When you bite down, you put force on this joint, causing it to become misaligned. As a result, TMJ is often the source of significant pain. Fortunately, there are many treatment options available, including surgery. Read on to learn about each option.
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs, are effective for relieving the symptoms of TMJ. Commonly prescribed NSAIDs, such as aspirin and ibuprofen, can relieve pain and help you relax. If NSAIDs are not enough, your doctor may prescribe a narcotic analgesic. Other treatment options include muscle relaxants to loosen tight jaw muscles and anti-anxiety medications to reduce stress and pain. These drugs can only be prescribed by a doctor and should not be taken without a physician’s recommendation.
In some cases, TMJ pain can radiate to other areas, including the head and neck. This referred pain can be intense and confuse the patient. Other common symptoms include headache, earache, and toothache. Other medical conditions can cause symptoms associated with TMJ, including fractures, dislocations, and structural problems. It’s important to visit your dentist to rule out any underlying condition. A physician can recommend treatment for TMJ-related pain.
Proper care for TMJ can help alleviate TMJ pain and reduce the length of the flare-up. Proper care can even prevent TMJ flare-ups altogether. If you want to enjoy your life again, seek out professional advice. The pain may go away once stress has been eliminated. If left untreated, it could lead to a host of serious health issues, such as sleep apnea and depression.
When your jaw is inflamed, you can undergo an MRI. An MRI of the jaw can reveal structural abnormalities. By using a magnetic field, a TMJ MRI can provide detailed images of the tissues and organs within the jaw. Symptomatic TMJ treatment may include reducing the severity and frequency of nighttime teeth grinding. Your dentist will also recommend some lifestyle changes you can make to improve your health and prevent TMJ pain.
TMJ surgery can be performed as a surgical procedure. This procedure can be done through a small incision in the joint. This option is less invasive than other treatments. However, it has a longer recovery time and a higher risk of tissue scarring and nerve damage. Surgery is often the last option, though. In some cases, the symptoms may go away without any treatment. In such cases, doctors may recommend a course of pain medications. Some doctors will prescribe stronger medications like ibuprofen.
While stress is often the culprit for TMJ pain, there are other physical causes. Jaw clenching, jaw grinding, and bruxism are all causes of pain in this area. Stress can also affect the muscles around the joint, causing tension and pain. The result is that the jaw muscles are strained, which is a sign of TMJ dysfunction. Although nonsurgical dental treatments can relieve TMJ pain, in severe cases, surgery may be required.