What Are the Serious Complications of TMJ?

What Are the Serious Complications of TMJ?

Aug 01, 2023

Temporomandibular joint dysfunction causes discomfort and tenderness in the jaw joints and muscles surrounding them, including the ligaments. The causes of TMJ disorders include teeth grinding, arthritis, daily wear and tear, jaw injuries, et cetera. TMJ treatment differs between patients and might include physical therapy, customized mouthguards, medication, and jaw surgery.

What Is a TMJ Disorder?

TMJ disorders are problems affecting the jaw joints and muscles surrounding them besides the ligaments. The problems can cause multiple issues like jaw pain, headaches, and challenges to open and close your mouth.

Two TMJ joints are located on both sides of your face in front of the ears. The TMJ joints connect the lower jawbone to the skull to help you with movements like chewing and speaking.

Approximately 5 to 12 percent of adults in America have some TMJ disorder. The problem is twice as common in women than in men. People between 20 and 40 are most likely to develop TMJ disorders.

Versions of TMJ Disorders

Healthcare professionals categorize TMJ disorders into disorders of the jaw joints, chewing muscles, and headaches resulting from the problem.

Symptoms of TMJ Disorders

Symptoms of TMJ vary between patients and may include facial pain, jaw pain, shoulder and neck pain, challenges opening or closing the mouth, jaw clicking and popping, headaches, migraines, earaches, toothache, tinnitus, and changes in how the teeth fit together.

Primary Causes of TMJ Disorder

The medical fraternity has not identified why TMJ disorders occur. They think it is a result of different factors, including jaw injury, teeth grinding and clenching, arthritis of the jaw joint, stress, and malocclusion.

Conditions That Worsen TMJ Disorders

The factors causing TMJ disorders are challenging to control. However, some habits can worsen the discomfort from these disorders, including:

  • Using teeth like tools to open packages or tear clothing tags.
  • Poor posture places excessive pressure on the neck, shoulder, and facial muscles.
  • Chewing on pens, pencils, fingernails, et cetera.
  • Excessively chewing gum or eating ice.
  • Having large chunks of food to overwork jaw muscles.
  • Daytime bruxism.
  • Sleeping on the stomach.

Severe Complications of TMJ Disorders

TMJ disorders can result in multiple complications, including chronic pain, limited chewing functionality, and bruxism-related wear and tear. However, it is difficult to identify the exact reasons for TMJ disorders because many factors of the condition overlap. Sometimes, you may require time to determine whether a TMJ disorder treatment works best for you.

Diagnosis of TMJ Disorders

The TMJ specialist in Salt Lake City, UT, diagnoses your TMJ disorder during dental checkups by observing your jaw’s range of motion when opening and closing your mouth, pressing on the sides of your face to identify areas of discomfort and feeling around your jaw joints asking you open and close your mouth.

The Salt Lake specialist may also recommend imaging tests to examine the jaw joints and structures surrounding them closely. The imaging tests may include X-rays, CT scans, MRI scans, and TMJ arthroscopy.

Treatment for TMJ Disorders

The TMJ disorder treatment that best suits your needs depends on various factors, including the underlying causes of the problem and the severity of your discomfort. TMJ treatment in Salt Lake City, UT, entails non-invasive treatments like medications and customized mouthguards. However, if your symptoms do not improve, they will recommend surgery.

Oral appliances like mouthguards can position your jaw favorably to help reduce the effects of teeth grinding. While you can purchase mouthguards over the counter, it helps if you have a customized device created explicitly for your mouth by the specialist.

Besides the above, the specialist will recommend physical therapy, including TMJ exercises that help stretch and strengthen your jaw and muscles surrounding the joints. They will also recommend improving your posture and avoiding harmful habits like chewing ice, using teeth as tools, and biting fingernails to make behavioral changes to help manage the TMJ disorder.

Generally, TMJ disorders disappear by themselves in a couple of months without treatment. However, if the symptoms persist, it helps if you visit the TMJ specialist to assess whether you have a TMJ disorder and receive treatment from them to improve your quality of life.

Warm Family Dentistry receives many patients complaining of jaw discomfort and offers them non-invasive therapies to overcome the problem. If your jaws are hurting and causing persistent pain, kindly receive treatment for a TMJ disorder from the specialist using minimally invasive procedures.

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