Your temporomandibular joints connect your jaw to your skull. They enable you to speak, eat, laugh, smile, and perform many other vital actions. For your well-being, they must work correctly. If a problem eventually arises, you deserve the appropriate treatment to restore their function.
What Is TMJ?
Before we dive into the details, it’s essential to clarify that TMJ is the acronym for temporomandibular joints, so technically, it doesn’t reference a condition or medical problem. However, this term is a colloquialism for the group of disorders that affect these joints. Many people refer to jaw-related joint and muscle pain as TMJ, but if you want to be more specific, you can use the abbreviation TMD, which stands for temporomandibular disorders.
Now that the terminology is clear, we can talk about the disorders. These joints enable a wide range of movements and have complex and delicate anatomy. Whenever patients have problems in the anatomical structures of their bite, occlusion, or temporomandibular joints, they quickly begin to show telltale signs.
Many different factors can cause joint problems, and that’s why we use the terms TMJ and TMD interchangeably to describe various conditions.
Understanding TMJ Signs and Symptoms
The most common manifestations of temporomandibular joint disorders are the following:
- Pain around your jaw, ears, and temple
- Clicking, popping, or grinding noises when opening or closing your mouth
- Chronic headaches around your temples, which typically occur when you wake up in the morning
- Difficulty opening your mouth fully
- Episodes in which your jaw locks when you open your mouth widely, like yawning or laughing
TMD Treatment Options
The most challenging aspect of treating TMD is that these disorders require expertise to reach an accurate diagnosis. A trained specialist needs to examine the case in depth to identify the disorder’s underlying cause and determine how best to relieve its symptoms.
Read on to discover effective treatments for the most frequent temporomandibular disorders. We usually recommend starting with non-invasive alternatives. If they fail, we opt for minimally invasive therapies, and may suggest pursuing more aggressive procedures as a last resort.
- Take over-the-counter medications: Some OTC drugs, like naproxen or ibuprofen, can relieve muscle pain and inflammation.
- Apply cold to the area: Put a cold compress or an ice pack where you feel pain (usually on the side of your face and temples) for 10-minute intervals.
- Have a soft diet: Chewing hard foods can cause discomfort in your joints.
- Wear a night guard: If you grind or clench your teeth in your sleep, a custom-fitted mouth guard can help prevent this issue.
- Reduce stress: Life stressors that cause tension in your facial or neck muscles may increase TMJ discomfort. Try self-care activities like yoga and meditation to relieve stress and anxiety.
Minimally Invasive Procedures
Botox® injections for TMJ relax your facial muscles, relieving tension and controlling inflammation.
Specific surgical techniques can succesfully treat most joint disorders.
TMJ Treatments in North Vancouver, BC
Have you ever experienced any of the signs described above? Maybe it’s time for a personalized review of your health history. Our front-office team will be happy to assist you and schedule a consultation at your earliest convenience. Our board-certified physician, Dr. Naz, is highly experienced and looking forward to working with you.