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Is TMJ a Medical or Dental Problem?

Woman having TMj treatment in Beverly Hills

The temporomandibular joint disorder is caused by many problems like constant stress, trauma to the jaw, etc. Although the condition is not life-threatening, when left untreated, it can lead to persistent tension and discomfort in and surrounding the jaw. In the worst cases, the joints could become inflamed and there could be damage to the teeth.

TMJ Disorders Can be Both Dental and Medical Issues

Whether the TMJ disorder is a dental or medical problem depends on the cause of the disorder. For example, if TMJ is due to an underlying issue associated with the teeth and gums, it is a dental problem.

On the other hand, when the condition is due to medical issues like arthritis, and fibromyalgia that leads to intense pain in the jaw and other body areas, it’s a medical problem. During your consultation with the dentist in West Hollywood, CA, the expert will identify your symptoms and advise an appropriate treatment plan to minimize your discomfort.

How Do Dentists Treat TMJ disorders?

If you are diagnosed with TMJ disorder, the dentist can help you in the following ways:

Treat Existing Issues

When the TMJ is caused by pre-existing conditions, the dentist typically performs a more specific treatment. For example, if the TMJ is caused due to grinding of teeth, the expert will typically tell patients to use a mouthguard. On the other hand, if the TMJ disorder is due to osteoarthritis or other degenerative conditions, the dentist uses steroid injections.

Surgery

The dentist uses surgical treatment in severe cases of TMJ disorder. For example, when the jaw movement becomes limited and symptoms stay for longer, the jaw joint requires replacement.

Medicines

In a few cases, the doctor offers few medications to eradicate the discomfort and pain associated with TMJ disorders. These include:

a) Tricyclic Antidepressants

Tricyclic antidepressants are good for managing bruxism, pain, and sleeplessness.

b) Anti-Inflammatory and Pain Medicines

If OTC pain medicines do not work, the dentist describes strong pain or anti-inflammatory medications to relieve TMJ pain.

c) Muscle Relaxants

In a few cases, dental professionals recommend these drugs to manage pain caused by TMJ disorders due to muscle spasms.

Jaw Exercises and Relaxation Methods

The dentist suggests certain exercises to make jaw muscles strong. These exercises typically extend the whole mouth area. In a few cases, the dentist also performs some relaxation techniques to relax the jaw area. These exercises minimize the stress on the jaw area and offer pain relief.

Non-Drug Therapies

Non-drug therapies for the TMJ include:

a) Counseling and Education

Getting counseling and education associated with teeth grinding and biting fingernails can help you understand the behavior and factors that cause TMJ pain.

b) Physical Therapy

Physical therapy is another good option for TMJ disorder treatment. These include applying moist teeth and ice, ultrasound, etc.

c) Lifestyle Changes and Other Care

Making some lifestyle changes and self-care is another effective way to deal with TMJ disorders at home. Lifestyle changes may include applying ice or moist heat, consuming soft food varieties only, avoiding chewing gum, refraining from stressing the jaw or clenching, etc.

How Do I Know If I Have a Temporomandibular Joint Disorder?

The following symptoms indicate TMJ disorder:

Constant Migraine or Headache

If you wake up with a headache or migraine every morning, fix an appointment with the TMJ dentist for an evaluation. The symptom can be TMD.

Cracks, Worn or Broken Teeth

Patients with TMJ disorders typically grind their teeth. It results in cracked, broken, or worn-down teeth.

Head, Neck, Shoulder, and Jaw Ache

Another symptom of TMJ disorder is experiencing pain in different areas of the body like the head, jaw, shoulder, etc.

Clogging of Ears, Tinnitus, or Ear Ache

Sometimes, patients experience clogged ears or earaches from TMD. It can also cause ringing in the ears due to irritation in the nerves.

Clicking or Popping Sounds in the Jaw

If you hear a clicking or popping sound while you close or open your mouth, it might be due to a TMJ disorder.

Limited Movement

If you find it hard to make movements of your mouth in a few directions, it might indicate a TMJ disorder and need TMJ treatment near you.

Contact Your Dentist if You Have a TMJ Disorder

If you need further help managing your TMJ disorder, call Dr. Borzoo Ahmadi today.

Serving West Hollywood and Beyond

Time to see a dentist? Let us introduce you to a new level of care at the practice of Dr. Borzoo Ahmadi, DDS, in West Hollywood, CA. Patients from West Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, and all over the world have unlocked more beautiful smiles and lasting oral health with our help. We can’t wait to show you your most confident smile.