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What You Need to Know About TMJ Disorder

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Temporomandibular Jaw Disorder (TMJ) can be a painful disorder causing strain on the jaw muscles. It can affect chewing, swallowing, and even speech. Often the actual cause of the disorder is unknown. 

For some people, the disorder may present itself when there is excessive clenching or grinding of the teeth (bruxism). Often, patients are unaware they have these habits. Other causes can be trauma to the jaw or arthritis of the jaw. 

TMJ is a common disorder, with approximately 1 out of 3 adults experiencing it at some point in their lifetime. 

What is the TMJ Joint?

TMJ affects the two joints that connect the lower jaw to the skull. The joint called the mandible (lower jaw) slides and rotates with the temporal bone (the joint on the base of the skull). These two joints, along with the muscles around them, allow for the jaw to move. 

When the joints move as they should, they allow for the proper alignment necessary to chew and talk without pain and stress. However, when the muscles, ligaments, or joints are not in alignment, pain, and mobility of the jaw may become limited. 

What are the Symptoms of TMJ?

TMJ can present itself in various ways, including: 

  • Tenderness of the jaw
  • Headaches
  • Limited mobility of the jaw
  • Earaches or ringing of the ears
  • A clicking or popping of the jaw
  • Locking of the jaw
  • Clenching of the jaw
  • Grinding of the teeth

How is TMJ Treated?

Your doctor may recommend various treatments that may ease the pain and help with the jaw's mobility. Resting the jaw by using relaxation techniques to help with habits such as clenching the jaw is often helpful. 

Over-the-counter pain medication NSAIDs such as ibuprofen can help with pain, as well as applying ice or heat packs. 

Physical therapy is often recommended as it can teach exercises that help relax the muscles surrounding the temporomandibular joint. 

Many patients also benefit from an orthopedic appliance such as a specially fitted mouthguard that they can wear at night to reduce teeth grinding or clenching. 

In more severe cases, surgery may be considered. Surgery can be performed arthroscopically. There are few risks and complications with the surgery. Surgeons perform the procedure by using a small thin tube called a cannula placed in the TMJ joint. They then insert a small camera and surgical instruments to repair or replace the joint. 

Can TMJ Disorder go Away on its Own?

Though TMJ may go away on its own, seeking treatment can help relieve symptoms earlier and help prevent the condition from worsening. 

If you are experiencing TMJ symptoms, it is essential to see a doctor who specializes in TMJ disorders so that the right treatment plan can be put in place for your specific condition. 

What Happens if TMJ is Left Untreated?

If left untreated, TMJ symptoms can become worse over time. Patients can experience continued pain and mobility issues that do not resolve on their own. Treating symptoms as early as possible is always recommended, so you do not have to live with the pain and mobility issues associated with TMJ disorder. 

best pain management doctors in South Florida

Where Can I Find the Best Pain Management Doctor in South Florida?

Pain Care Specialists of Florida are leaders in interventional pain management. We provide various services and treatments for conditions causing pain, including TMJ disorders. 

If you are experiencing TMJ symptoms, don’t hesitate to contact our pain management specialists, Dr. Luis Escobar.

As two of the best pain management doctors in South Florida, they utilize an interdisciplinary approach in treating the source of your pain to get you back on track and improve your quality of life. You can get in touch with our specialists in one of our clinics located near you:

Seek treatment, so you do not have to live with the pain and limitations of TMJ disorders. Contact us today! 

The material contained on this site is for informational purposes only and DOES NOT CONSTITUTE THE PROVIDING OF MEDICAL ADVICE, and is not intended to be a substitute for independent professional medical judgment, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your health.

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