Temporomandibular Joint disorder abbreviated as TMJ is a medical condition in which the hinge joint that connects jaw to the skull or the muscles surrounding it becomes inflamed. This condition can be very painful that can affect one or both joints, on the sides of your face simultaneously. Following is a brief overview of this condition that can expand your knowledge about this disorder.
The signs and symptoms of TMJ consists of the following:
- Locking of the joint – the movement of the mouth can become strictly limited. The patient may find difficulty moving their jaw.
- Difficulty Chewing – as a result of locking of joint, it becomes hard to chew food for the patients. Grating sound can accompany this symptom as well.
- Facial Pain – the patient can experience pain all over the face especially around jaw and ear.
- Tenderness – pain, and tenderness around the temporomandibular joint are the obvious symptoms of TMJ disorder.
The causes of TMJ disorder centers around the jaw joint which combines hinge and sliding motion to aid in movements during speaking and eating. The joint is covered by cartilage which acts as a shock absorber and keeps the movement of the mouth smooth. A number of different malfunctions can cause the disorder, some of which are:
- The joint dislocates as a consequence of a blow during fight or accident.
- Arthritis can harm the cartilage surrounding the joint.
- The joint disk erodes or due to excessive friction and moves out of its place.
A number of factors can contribute to the development of this disorder in addition to the joint disk. It is important to look out for these factors as it can lead to premature wear and tear of the jaw joint.
- Clenching of Jaw – most people clench their jaw or grind their teeth to express anger but it can become a nervous habit as well. Chronic clenching of jaw and teeth grinding can contribute hugely in the development of this condition.
- Arthritis – all types of arthritis such as rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis can become partly responsible for this disorder. If the patient has arthritis, it is likely that it will affect the facial joints as well.
- Connective Tissues – some specific type of connective tissue diseases can affect temporomandibular joint and become leading factors that cause TMJ disorder.
If you are feeling any sort of pain in your jaw lately, it will be wise to visit a doctor immediately. Your doctor will diagnose a TMJ disorder by checking the range of motion of your mouth and obvious discomfort on pressing. Sometimes, TMJ arthroscopy and x-ray are also done to get in-depth analysis of the condition of your jaw. The treatment of this condition is usually done by medications and physiotherapy. Your doctor will prescribe some medicines like NSAIDs or pain-killers as well as muscle relaxants and may also refer you to a TMJ specialist for specific physical therapy. Surgery can also be done in case of severe damage.