If you’re experiencing pain in your jaw, you may be wondering whether you have a TMJ disorder. TMJ is a common condition that affects the temporomandibular joint, which is the joint that connects the lower jaw to the skull. It can cause a wide range of symptoms, including pain, stiffness, jaw clicking, and headaches.
There are several specialists who can diagnose and treat TMJ, including dentists, oral surgeons, and rheumatologists.
In this article, we will discuss the different specialists who can treat TMJ, as well as when you should see TMJ Specialists in Austin, Tx.
What Is TMJ?
The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is the connection between the skull’s lower jaw (mandible) and the temporal bone. It allows the jaw to move up and down and side to side, so that we can talk, chew, and yawn. Without the joint, it would be impossible to move or open the mouth.
TMJ disorders occur when the TMJ is not working correctly. This can cause pain in the jaw and face, as well as popping or clicking sounds when you move your jaw. If you think you may have a TMJ disorder, it is important to see a specialist who can diagnose and treat the condition.
Causes Of TMJ
The exact cause of TMJ disorder is often unclear and hard to figure out in some cases even with proper evaluation and tests. Stress or trauma is the source in most cases but there may be other underlying medical factors in play. Here are the most common risk factors that lead to TMJ-
- Arthritis in the jaw bone such as rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis.
- And injury to the jaw bone.
- Bruxism aka chronic grinding or clenching of teeth in sleep or stressful situations.
- Strain or inflammation in the muscles around the temporomandibular joint.
- Erosion of the bone
- Structural issues in the joint are present since birth.
Treatments For TMJ
In many, cases the symptoms go away within a few weeks with self-care remedies. Stress-relief activities like meditation, eating soft foods, reducing jaw movements, or applying a hot/cold compress will help relieve the pain.
Even over-the-counter pain medications can be used to find relief from the pain if it is interfering with daily activities. In some cases, physical therapy may also be recommended to the patient to reduce strain on the joint and manage long-term symptoms.
What Specialist Should One See For TMJ?
If you experience pain in the jaw bone that radiates to the ear, head, or neck, it could be a potential symptom of TMJ disorder. Some people also hear clicking sounds while opening or moving the jaw but it’s not always the case. Every case of TMJ disorder is unique and requires a different treatment approach.
The type of specialist you see will depend on the severity of your symptoms and the underlying cause of your TMJ. Since dental issues are often a cause of TMJ pain, visiting a dentist is an excellent place to start with the treatment. They have studied the anatomy of the jaw bone and thus can help diagnose the problem. Many dentists even specialize in treating TMJ disorders or disorders with the jaw joint and are known as TMJ specialists.
They will ask you questions regarding your symptoms and medical history and carry out X-rays to examine the bone structure.
They may prescribe you painkillers to reduce the pain and come with a custom treatment plan based on your individual symptoms.
Oral appliances, ones quite similar to mouthguards can be used to correct the bite and relieve pressure from the joint. Such appliances can also help reduce teeth-grinding habits.
In some cases, the dentist may recommend seeing an oral surgeon for surgery to correct structural issues with the jaw joint.
Can TMJ Be Cured Permanently?
Since TMJ is usually triggered by medical factors, curing the trigger can help cure TMJ permanently. For eg. TMJ pain caused by facial injury may go away once the healing is completed. In cases of stress-induced TMJ pain, stress-control techniques or talk therapy may make the symptoms go away. But they may return if the patient undergoes a stressful situation making it a chronic condition.
The condition itself is not life-threatening but it can make day-to-day activities like eating or speaking painful so seeking treatment right away is essential. In most cases, simple home remedies, physiotherapy, or wearing custom mouth appliances can help you find the relief you are looking for. So if you have suffered from TMJ pain, see a dentist right away to get a proper diagnosis and care.
Dr. Michael Nussbaum from 360 Dental Care is a dentist in Austin who specializes in treating TMJ disorders and can customize a treatment plan for you based on the symptoms and severity of the case. So call up 360 Dental Care clinic today or visit their website to schedule an appointment with Dr. Michael Nussbaum right away for TMJ.