A Guide to Temporomandibular Joint Syndrome and How It’s Treated

Elderly Albuquerque Man Suffering from TMJ

Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) syndrome, alternatively known as Temporomandibular disorder, or TMD, is an issue which up to 30% of adults can expect to experience during their lifetime.With almost one-third of the world’s population likely to suffer, TMJ should be a household name, right? Unfortunately, many suffer through the pain, experiencing symptoms for months before turning to a specialist for help. In this blog, we’re going to explain what causes TMJ syndrome, the symptoms to look out for, and how the disorder can be treated.

What is TMJ syndrome?
The temporomandibular joint connects the jaw to the skull. It lies between the upper temporal bone and the lower mandible, hence the name. A correctly working temporomandibular joint allows the jaw to move in an upwards, downwards and sideways direction, facilitating chewing, talking, and yawning. However, when this joint is damaged, for example through injury, arthritis, or simply through years of poor posture or teeth grinding, TMJ syndrome is the result.

What are the symptoms of TMJ syndrome?
TMJ syndrome can manifest itself in different ways, from popping sounds, either in the ears or the jaws, through to increasingly more painful symptoms, such as headaches, stiff muscles, localized pain in the jaw joint and even the locking of the jaw. In less severe cases, home treatment, such as the application of ice packs, can help to alleviate pain, but if you’ve been experiencing symptoms for a prolonged period of time, you should consult a professional.

Treatment for TMJ
Simple lifestyle changes can sometimes alleviate symptoms and many dentists will suggest this as a first course of action. After this, treatment for TMJ will escalate depending on the severity of symptoms. Mouth guards, medication, and steroid injections into the jaw joint are all viable treatment options, while in the most extreme examples your dentist may suggest surgery or even, in very rare cases, a joint replacement.

As New Mexico’s trusted Albuquerque cosmetic dentist, we offer experienced TMJ treatment services to reduce pain and allow you to be happy with your mouth again! Contact us today for more information and to schedule an appointment.