Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) syndrome is a disease of the jaw nerves and muscles caused by damage to the temporomandibular joint. The temporomandibular joint is the link between the jawbone and the skull.
When this joint is damaged or tampered, it can lead to disarray called temporomandibular joint (TMJ) syndrome which leads to pain with clicking, chewing and popping of the jaw, tooth grinding (bruxism), and inflammation on the sides of the face, nerve uneasiness, headaches, Eustachian tube dysfunction and sometimes disruption of the temporomandibular joint.
What Are The Risk Factors for TMJ Syndrome?
There are numerous risk factors for TMJ syndrome:
- Poor posture of the neck and upper back muscles may lead to spraining of neck and abnormalities of jaw muscle role.
- Stress may increase jaw clamping and muscle tension.
- Women between 18-44 years of age are more prone to risk.
- Patients with prolonged inflammatory arthritis have amplified risk.
- People with poorly positioned teeth or jaw trauma are prone to TMJ.
- People who have a genetic disposition to pain sensitivity and increased anxiety responses may be more vulnerable.
What causes TMJ Syndrome?
The causes of TMJ syndrome are not completely assumed.
Multiple factors contribute to the muscle stiffness and dysfunction that portray this condition.
It is not clear if some of these root causes directly lead to TMJ syndrome or if they are a consequence of the ailment.
Causes may include
- trauma to or misalignment (malocclusion) of the teeth or jaw,
- teeth grinding (bruxism),
- poor posture,
- anxiety or stress,
- inflammatory musculoskeletal disorders like arthritis,
- Excessive gum chewing.
What Are TMJ Syndrome Signs and Symptoms?
The main sign of TMJ syndrome is discomfort in the jaw joint.
This joint is located just in front of the ear and pain associated with this may encompass the eye, face, forehead, ear or neck.
Signs and symptoms of TMJ syndrome include:
- clicking/popping of the jaw
- ear pain, headache
- ringing or popping noises in the ears (tinnitus)
- blurred vision
- tight, sore or stiff jaw or neck muscles
- Pain, swelling or a lump in the temple area
What is the treatment for TMJ syndrome?
Many symptoms of TMJ syndrome can react well to home remedies or stress reduction and relaxation techniques.
This syndrome often retorts to home remedies including:
- Ice packs to the joint,
- Eating soft diets,
- Avoiding chewing gum,
- Over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs),
- Reflexology of the jaw and neck and stress reduction.
When home remedies are not operational, medical therapies may be necessary. These include:
- Dental splint, a dental equipment that is placed in the mouth that keeps the teeth in position and prevents tooth grinding
- Botox installations
- Prescription medications
Dr. Shahin Safarian is a TMJ Specialist and expert in neuromuscular dentistry providing temporomandibular joint dysfunction therapy to patients in San Diego. Contact Now for a free consultation!