What is TMJ Disorder?
The TMJ or the temporomandibular joint connects the jawbone to the skull. There is one on either side of the jaw.The TMJ allows for the smooth movement of the jaw in the vertical or up and down direction and also the horizontal or side-to-side direction, allowing for actions like talking, chewing and yawning. TMJ usually has sliding motions that are mingled with a hinge action. The bones that combine in this joint are laced with cartilage and are separated by a small disk that can absorb shock.
TMJ Disorders consists of the different problems that arise at the TMJ, which can in turn affect the jaws and the muscles controlling them. Some of the causes are:
A TMJ disorder patient might suffer from the following symptoms:
Some patients have also reported headaches, dizziness, pain in the teeth, tinnitus and upper shoulder pain.
The doctor will do a physical evaluation of the patient, based on the symptoms. Some physical examinations performed by the doctor are:
Listening for any clicking or grating sounds while opening and closing the mouth.
The following tests are also performed to confirm diagnosis:
There are three types of treatments that are available for TMJ disorders:
The dentist or the doctor might recommend any of the following medications to relive the pain in the joints.
Some dentists or doctors might recommend the following therapies:
Doctors might recommend surgeries if other treatments are not effective or depending on the issue. The types of surgeries performed for a TMJ disorder are:
Arthrocentesis: This is a minor surgery performed when the patient’s jaws are locked. In this procedure, the dentist will administer general anesthesia and use needles to wash out the joint and also use specialized instruments to perform the following:
Arthroscopy: This is performed using a tiny camera attached to a thin tube that is inserted through a tiny incision near the ear. This camera is used to view the injured area and help confirm the diagnosis. Tiny surgical instruments are then inserted through this incision and guided to the injured area using the camera. Then the damaged tissue is removed or the disk or joint is then realigned.
Authored By Dr Sanjay N - Orthodontics & Dentofacial Orthopaedics, Bangalore