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Causes & symptom of TMJ disorder

TMJ specialists Los Angeles

TMJ specialists Los Angeles treat the joint which connects the jaw to the skull. When this joint gets damaged or injured, it may lead to localized pain disorder, also called Temporomandibular joint or TMJ syndrome. It is also known as temporomandibular disorder.

Causes of TMJ disorder

Injuries to the jaw or to the teeth or misalignment of the jawbone are the main causes of TMJ disorder. It may also be the results of teeth clenching and teeth grinding, gum chewing, arthritis, stress, and poor posture.

The symptoms of TMJ syndrome are:

  • Jaw clicking or popping
  • Jaw pain
  • Earache or ear pain
  • Popping sounds into the ears
  • Stiff and sore jaw muscles
  • Strain/discomfort in the temple area
  • Locking of a jaw joint.

Prognosis of TMJ is useful if a person is capable of managing such disorder with home remedies and self-care.

How to diagnose TMJ disorder?

For a doctor to know if you are suffering TMJ syndrome or not, he will start by taking your medical history, and he will do the physical exam so that he can find what caused the symptoms. No test has been explicitly developed to diagnose the TMD.  The doctor may decide to send you to a maxillofacial or oral specialist or to a dentist who specializes in the jaw disorder so that he can confirm the diagnosis. Sometimes a health care professional can order the MRI to see if there is any damage that took place over the cartilage of a jaw joint or ruling out any other medical problem.  Trigeminal neuralgia has the same symptoms to these of TMD.   The trigeminal nerve supplies nerve impulses into the temporomandibular joint, and if it is irritated, it will cause facial pain.  Other causes may be ill-fitting dentures, sore throat, salivary gland diseases, giant cell arteritis, and swollen lymph nodes.

Treatment of TMJ disorder

The TMJ disorder may respond to the home remedies which include ice packs over the joint,  nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs sold over the counter, gentle stretches over the jaw or neck, stress reduction or avoiding gum chewing.

If any home treatment refuses to work, then medical treatment may include physical therapy, Botox injections, and dental splints. If the case is severe, it will require surgery.

Some of the treatments offered at the doctor’s office are:

  • Dental splints which are also known as bite guards, stabilization splints and occlusal splints. They are dental appliances which are put into the mouth to keep teeth in the right alignment, and they prevent tooth grinding. It resembles the mouth guard which is prescribed or fitted by jaw specialists.
  • A medical practitioner can use Botox to relax jaw muscles. However, this has not been approved by the FDA yet.
  • Physical therapy, which includes jaw exercise, may strengthen the flesh, thus, enhancing flexibility.

In the area where marijuana is allowed for medical reasons, TMJ specialists Los Angeles may prescribe it to treat severe TMJ pain.  Other viable medications include muscle relaxants, anti-inflammatory drugs, and steroid injections.  The doctor may also prescribe pain medication.


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