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Best Treatment Options For The ‘Often Misunderstood Joint Disorder’- TMJ Disorder

Best Treatment Options For The ‘Often Misunderstood Joint Disorder’- TMJ Disorder

Authored by Dr. ABHIMANYU CHATURVEDI Posted On 24/09/18

You may not know about your temporomandibular joints (TMJ) much, but you utilize them a lot. The joints connect your jawbone to your skull. Your TMJ springs into action each time you open your mouth to talk, chew, eat, drink, smile and yawn. Put your fingers in front of each ear and open your mouth. Can you feel your jaw joint? Popularly called TMJ, the joint disorders can cause pain and dysfunction in the jaw joint and surrounding muscles of the head & neck. Like many other workhorses of the body, you don’t even realize it is there when your TMJ is functioning properly. Statistics reveal that around 15 percent of adults have some form of TMJ disorder (TMD). TMD is at least thrice prevalent in women than in men (Don’t get it wrong, that’s not because they talk too much). Scientists are exploring its possible connection to female hormones and possible genetic links. The TMJ disorder affects around 12 percent of the world population and is also higher among younger persons.

What Is TMJ disorder (TMD) & its causes and symptoms?

The temporomandibular joint is the hinge in your jaw which connects lower jaw to the skull. The TMJ is the 1st joint in your body from the head down and it is the only joint which has 2 connections bilaterally (on both sides, right and left) at the same level. This is the only joint which has a 3D movement, i.e, has both rotating movements and sliding movements, that means this joint can slide out of its location and easily slide in back. Any problem with this joint is technically referred to as a temporomandibular disorder (TMD), this, in turn, may affect other components of the head and neck which is then called CranioCervical Mandibular Dysfunction (CCMD).

The TMJ disorder is actually a master of disguise; they can manifest in many ways and can cause a cascading effect (No surprise here: When the jaw is whacked, it causes a lot of pain in the surrounding areas) like upper spine rotations, posture issues, issues with the head and neck muscles etc. TMD symptoms can include anything from headaches, ear pain, ringing in the ears, blurred vision, dizziness, tooth pain, stuffy nose, numbness in the fingers, shoulder pain, strained neck, upper spine issues and many more. You might be wondering why TMJ disorder cause problems for other areas of your body?

When there is a causative factor for disharmony in your jaw joint disc inside the joint (called the Articular disc which acts as a lubricant & a shock absorber) starts to wear off. This, in turn, results in the bone to bone contact which compresses the nerves which are passing through the area. It clicks, pops, locks, and sends waves of pain shooting through your face, neck, and back. It’s hard to believe that a joint in the face can do so much, but that just goes to show you how connected every part of the body is! The longer it’s left untreated the worse it can get too!

What are the treatment options for ‘The Great Imposter’?

TMD mimics so many other diseases and conditions, with numerous symptoms that appear to have no relationship to the jaw joint itself. Moreover, the symptoms are not always constant (especially in early stages), making the condition extremely elusive to diagnose. This prompted scientists to nickname it as “The Great Imposter.” Neuromuscular Dentists start with a thorough history of the patient. This should be followed by a physical examination. Among the biggest advances in TMJ diagnosis has been imaging studies (particularly by M.R.I. and by CT scan with a cone-beam image).

Conservative TMJ Disorder Treatment:

  1. Resting the jaw is the most important therapy. Avoid chewy things (when you’re experiencing flare-ups) and biting habits, Avoid the activities that stress your jaw for example yawning or laughing (holding a fist under the chin helps), and chewing gum temporarily eat only soft foods like yoghurt, soup, cottage cheese and well-cooked, mashed or pureed vegetables and fruit.
  2. Self-care measures suggested by American orofacial academy include putting ice packs on the jaw, applying moist heat to the jawline for 30 minutes two to three times each day and using relaxation techniques, such as meditation, to decrease tension in the jaw.
  3. Sleeping on your back is best for TMJ and related jaw pain. Just make sure you don’t have elevated your head too much. Keep pillow to cradle your head and support the proper curve of your neck (provided your airway is patent and there is no obstructive sleep apnea).
  4. Physical therapy for TMJ: A physical therapist works in tandem with our Neuromuscular Dentist and can give you TMJ exercises that will strengthen your jaw, retrain positioning of the spine, head and tongue. This can help you regain the full motion of the joint.

Medication & Botox (Botulinum toxin) for TMJ Disorder:
Medications & Botox won't heal TMJ disorder, but just mask the symptoms for a couple of hours. In our treatment protocol, we rarely even prescribe medicines.

Surgery as TMJ disorder treatment:

We don't believe in surgery when it comes to treating TMD!

Surgery is generally the last resort for any disease, and that’s no different for TMJ. If there is a fusion of the jaw joint (lockjaw) then the only option is surgery. But if there is any amount of mouth opening left, we can treat it non-surgically!

Crystal Dental Center, the only Multispeciality Dental Centre in north India and SAARC nations practices the principle of neuromuscular dentistry. We are equipped with all the necessary machines and technology to practice neuromuscular dentistry and we have pioneers of neuromuscular dentists with us dedicated to patients and their well-being. We are dedicated to giving you the best possible dental care and you will certainly have that kind of care, as their experienced neuromuscular dentists will bring to you the most advanced procedures and treatments for all your dentistry needs including the best temporomandibular joint disorder in New Delhi. Crystal Dental Center is a pre-eminent provider of the highest quality TMJ disorder treatment in New Delhi, North India and SAARC nations. They are known for their cutting-edge technology and excellent expert faculty who will deliver such quality TMD treatment non-surgically in India.

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