Temporomandibular Joint Syndrome, or TMJ, is a degenerative disease that affects the jaw and the muscles that surround the jaw. It is also known as TMD which references a disorder.
The complex TMJ system consists of bones, muscles, ligaments, and discs that must work together for the jaw to open and close and move side to side, like a hinge. If left untreated, it can cause painful jaw problems and permanently compromise hearing.
Signs of TMJ
- Pain in the jaw, neck, face, or shoulder.
- Clicking or popping of the joint.
- Muscle stiffness or soreness.
- Difficulty opening or closing the mouth.
- Jaw gets locked in an open or closed position.
- Recurring headaches.
- Frequent toothaches and earaches.
- Experiencing dizziness or vertigo (balancing issue).
- Hearing problems or tinnitus (ringing in the ear).
- Tingling or numbness in the arm, hand, or fingers.
People who are battling TMJ problems can have difficulties maintaining daily activities. If the pain is constant, patients may begin to struggle with chewing food, speaking, and might even suffer from nutritional deficiencies.
If your hearing is affected, you can experience inner ear problems that may lead to dizziness or vertigo. But treating TMJ is simple.
How to Treat TMJ
- Non-invasive therapeutic treatment can help to diminish symptoms and prevent further degeneration of the joint and disk.
- A customized mouth guard, or splint, will help to position the patient’s jaws while training the joint to function properly.
- Physical therapy can stretch the muscles surrounding the jaw to reduce tension.
- Over-the-counter or prescription pain medicine can lessen the pain and decrease inflammation.
- Apply cold or hot compress packs to help reduce swelling and inflammation.
It may be surprising to know that Botox can also relieve the effects of TMJ. Botox weakens the muscles surrounding the jaw that causes grinding and spasms. It has been known to be a relatively safe and effective treatment.
If you or someone you know is seeking relief to recover or learn to manage TMJ symptoms in the Lafayette, LA area, contact Maestri Dental.
Since some people are misdiagnosed for migraines or hearing problems because of the similarities with TMJ symptoms, it is best to schedule an appointment with a professional dentist to confirm a diagnosis. Although it is statistically common to be found in females, there are men who suffer from TMJ issues too.
Another option to alleviate TMJ is the use of essential oils. With their popularity on the rise, knowing which oils treat which symptom can help to decrease TMJ-related pain. However, they cannot target the main cause of it.
Each oil promotes a different response in the body but it is also not for everyone. Before using essential oils for TMJ problems, it is recommended to contact your local dentist for advice.
Essential Oils for TMJ
- Lavender is known for its relaxing effect so can help people with TMJ pain that’s secondary to stress.
- Yarrow is shown to be used effectively as an anti-inflammatory.
- Chamomile is an effective anti-inflammatory herb that can also help to relieve joint pain.
- Eucalyptus helps to relieve TMJ pain.
- Rosemary has been shown effectively to reduce musculoskeletal pain and inflammation.
The cause of TMJ is hard to determine but dentists believe the symptoms stem from problems with the muscles of your jaw, or parts of the joint itself. Your dentist will look for signs of grinding or clenching the teeth which put pressure on the joint.
If there is a dislocation of the disc between the ball and socket of the joint, or if arthritis has developed. An injury to your jaw, joint, or muscles of your head and neck such as whiplash or heavy blow, might also lead to TMJ.
If you are experiencing persistent pain or tenderness in the jaw, now is the time to schedule an appointment with Maestri Dental. If TMJ goes untreated, it can hinder a person’s everyday functions like chewing, biting, and even speaking.
Dr. Gina Liggio Maestri and her skilled team can assess your symptoms to form a prompt TMJ treatment plan that best suits you. For more information on TMJ, call our office directly at 337-704-2126 or schedule a visit, to get your smile back!