Temporo-mandibular Joint (TMJ) Treatment

Temporomandibular Disorders (TMD) and Temporo-Mandibular Joint (TMJ) diseases

Temporomandibular Disorders (TMD) describes a variety of conditions which affect the jaw joint(s) and or the muscles around the jaw. It is a very common condition, affecting more than a quarter of the population worldwide. It can be due to problems in the muscles, problems in the joints, or a bit of both.

Temporomandibular Disorders (TMD) is mostly not serious and symptoms usually only last a few months before getting better. However, symptoms may come back from time to time in a cyclical fashion. Many people have some signs of TMD, but only a small number suffer pain or other symptoms


Signs and symptoms of Temporomandibular Disorders (TMD) may include:

  • Frequent headaches around the forehead and temples
  • Jaw pain in one or both sides
  • Aching pain in and around the ear
  • Pain on opening wide or yawing
  • Difficulty chewing or pain while chewing
  • Jaw noises that may affect one or both sides and include popping, clicking or grating noises when the jaw moves
  • Jaw locking, or difficulty opening  the mouth
  • Tired and sore muscles in the sides of the head and face
  • Neck and shoulder aching and stiffness


Causes of Temporomandibular Disorders (TMD):

Nowadays, it is believed that Temporomandibular Disorders (TMD) is caused by many things acting together. Symptoms such as discomfort and pain can be caused, prolonged, or made worse by the following factors which may act alone or in combination with one another:

  • Changes in the body’s response to pain
  • Emotional or life stresses
  • Clenching or grinding the teeth together which may occur when awake (awake bruxism) or during sleep (sleep bruxism) or both. This may be brought on when concentrating at a particular task like working on a PC, driving, being extra busy, or annoyed
  • Straining the joints and muscles by chewing pencils, biting nails, holding things in the mouth, holding the telephone between the neck and shoulder!
  • Overworking the masticatory muscles by frequent use of chewing gum

A recent lengthy dental visit that involved wide opening for a long period of time

Injury to the area (a blow to the face or surgery)

Some dentists used to think that Temporomandibular Disorders (TMD) was caused mainly by the way the jaws and teeth lined up. But research has shown that misalignment of the jaws and teeth is not a major cause of Temporomandibular Disorders (TMD)


Is it likely to progress to a much worse disease?

Temporomandibular Disorders (TMD)does not usually keep getting worse. In the majority of cases the problem tends to come and go, often feeling worse during times of increased emotional stresses. Studies demonstrate that it does not tend to get worse with age. The important thing is to get the problem diagnosed and effectively treated.



Management of Temporomandibular Disorders (TMD):

  • Avoidance of hard/chewy food, wide mouth opening, and front biting
  • Use of a splint (bite guard) to reduce tension in the muscles around the face
  • Relaxation techniques and exercise
  • A short course of muscle relaxants and Anti-Inflammatory medications.
  • Tricyclic antidepressants. These medications, such as Amitriptyline, are used mostly for depression, but in low doses, they're used for pain relief, control of clenching and sleeplessness
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy
  • Gentle muscle manipulation can be of help for a small minority of patients
  • Only very rarely, surgery may be indicated for the treatment of TMD.



Doctors Panel of Temporo-mandibular Joint (TMJ) Treatment

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