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    The temporomandibular joint, abbreviated as TMJ, is a hinge connecting the jaw to the skull’s temporal bones. It allows you to move your jaw up and down or from side to side, enabling you to chew, talk, or yawn. You can develop problems with the jaws and muscles that control the temporomandibular joint. These disorders are known as temporomandibular disorders, abbreviated as TMDs. Some people refer to the condition as TMJ dysfunction or TMJ disorder. However, TMJ is just the name of the joint. If you need treatment for a TMJ/TMD, contact The Lakewood Dentist.

    The Leading Causes Of TMJ Disorder

    The exact cause of TMDs is not known. Experts believe that the condition results from issues with the muscles in your jaw or problems with the joint itself. The leading causes of temporomandibular joint disorder include:

    A bad bite or the braces used to strengthen the teeth do not cause temporomandibular joint disorder. Females have a higher likelihood of developing TMD than men. There is little research on the differences in the TMJ structure in females and men.

    The Symptoms Of TMDs

    You could have a TMJ disorder if you experience pain or discomfort in your joints. The pain can be temporary or persistent. TMD pain can affect one or both sides of your face. The disorder is most common in people between 20 and 40 years. The typical signs of TMD include the following:

    You could also experience pain in your upper shoulders accompanied by neck aches.

    Diagnosis Of TMJ Disorder

    Many other conditions cause similar symptoms to TMD. The problems include tooth decay, arthritis, sinus problems, or gum disease. Your dentist will examine you and ask about your medical history to determine whether you have TMD. The dentist will examine your jaw joints and determine whether they are tender or painful. The diagnosis also includes listening for pops, clicks, or grating sounds when you move your temporomandibular joint. Another way of determining whether a patient has TMD is by observing how the jaw works. The jaw should not lock when a patient opens or locks their mouth. Your dentist will also test your bite and determine if there are problems with your facial muscles.

    A full-face X-ray will also come in handy to help the dentist view your jaws, temporomandibular joint, and teeth. An X-ray helps the dentist to rule out other oral problems. Other imaging tests can be necessary, including CT Scans and MRIs. An MRI will reveal whether the temporomandibular joint disc is in the right position even when your jaw moves. A CT scan helps show your joint’s details.

    Sometimes, a TMJ arthroscopy is needed to diagnose a TMJ disorder. This surgery involves the dental expert inserting a tiny thin tube, known as a cannula, near the TMJ. The dentist then inserts a tiny camera known as an arthroscope to closely examine the painful area and diagnose.

    Your dentist can also refer you to an oral surgeon for additional treatment. An oral surgeon is also known as a maxillofacial surgeon. This expert performs surgery in or around the face, mouth, and jaw area. Your dentist can also refer you to an orthodontist. An orthodontist ensures that your muscles, teeth, and joints work as they should.

    Home Remedies For TMD

    Certain home remedies can relieve TMD symptoms if you have mild TMD symptoms. Your doctor can recommend the following remedies:

    The Treatment For TMD Disorder

    There are several treatments for TMD that your dentist can recommend. They include:


    Your dentist can recommend a dose of pain and anti-inflammatory medication to treat a TMD disorder, especially if you have pain and swelling. If you clench or grind your teeth, your dentist can recommend a muscle relaxer to relax your jaws. Anti-anxiety medication can also help to relieve stress, which is also a common cause of TMDs. Even in small doses, pain and anti-inflammatory medication can help to reduce and control TMD pain. Anti-anxiety drugs, muscle relaxants, and antidepressants are prescription medications, meaning that you need a valid prescription to access them.

    Dental Work

    Your dentist can use implants to replace your missing teeth and then use bridges, crowns, or braces to balance the biting surface of your teeth or correct bite issues.

    A Splint Or Night Guard

    These plastic mouthpieces are placed above your upper or lower teeth to prevent them from touching. Splints and mouth guards reduce the effects of teeth grinding and clenching and correct your bite by ensuring that your teeth are in the proper position. Many people do not know the difference between a splint and a night guard. You can always wear a splint, but you only wear night guards while you sleep. After examining you, your dentist will determine whether you need a splint or a night guard.

    Other Treatments For TMD

    If the treatments outlined above do not relieve the symptoms of TMD, your dentist can recommend any of these additional treatments:

    Treatment Of TMD Through Surgery

    Surgery is the last resort if all other treatment options do not relieve your TMD symptoms. Before settling for surgery, consult several dentists to ensure nothing else can be done. There are several types of TMD surgeries. The ideal surgery depends on the extent of the problem.


    This surgery would be appropriate if you do not have a major history of TMD disorder but your jaws lock together. The surgery is a minor outpatient procedure that your dentist can perform in the dental office. Your dentist will likely administer anesthesia to ensure you are comfortable during treatment. The dentist will then insert needles into the temporomandibular joint and clean it out. A special tool removes the damaged tissue and dislodges any stuck disc in the temporomandibular joint. Sometimes, the stuck disc can dislodge itself.


    Dentists use an arthroscope to perform this surgery. An arthroscope is a special tool that contains a lens and light. It allows the dentist to observe inside the temporomandibular joint. After administering general anesthesia, your dentist will make a small incision close to your ear to insert the tool. The arthroscope is connected to a video screen where the dentist will examine the joint and the surrounding area. The doctor can remove the affected tissue and realign the joint. Arthroscopy is a minimally invasive surgery that only leaves a tiny scar. The surgery requires a shorter recovery period than open surgery and has fewer potential complications.

    Open-joint Surgery

    Sometimes, arthroscopy surgery might not be ideal, depending on the cause of the temporomandibular joint disorder. In this case, your dentist can recommend open-joint surgery. You are a good candidate for open joint surgery if:

    Your dentist will administer general anesthesia before opening up the entire area around the TMJ. Doing this gives the dentist a full and clear view and access to the treatment site. After an open-joint surgery, you will need a longer recovery period than when you undergo minimally invasive surgery. With open joint surgery, there is also a higher chance of nerve injury and scarring.

    Modified Condylotomy

    Doctors perform this type of surgery on the mandible or the lower jaw instead of the surgery on the jaw joint. This surgery relieves pain and jaw locking.

    Who Treats TMD Disorder?

    The specialists who usually treat TMD disorder include:

    Preventing A TMJ Dysfunction

    It is not always to prevent the occurrence of TMD because some risk factors are hard to avoid. However, you can do the following to prevent the occurrence of TMD:

    What To Expect If You Have TMD

    Every patient is unique, and TMD affects everyone differently. In some patients, temporomandibular disorder is a temporary issue that goes away on its own after a few weeks. For other people, TMD is a chronic condition that could negatively impact your quality of life.

    You should consult a doctor if you have chronic headaches, jaw pain, or other signs of TMJ. Having the disorder addressed early increases the chances of recovery.

    You could be wondering about how long a TMD lasts. Sometimes, TMD heals on its own after several weeks. However, the condition can last for several months or even years in severe cases. TMD can be acute (short term) or chronic (long term).

    Most people wonder if it is possible to cure TMD completely. Yes, with proper treatment, TMD is curable. That’s why you should only consult an experienced dentist who has previously handled TMJ dysfunction cases.

    How To Live With TMD And When To See A Dentist

    When should I make an appointment with my doctor? Schedule an appointment with a healthcare practitioner if you have chronic temporomandibular joint pain, popping jaws, and other symptoms. They can assist you in determining the cause of your jaw pain and the appropriate treatment.

    Which inquiries should I pose to my physician? Here are a few questions you could want to ask your doctor or dentist if you have temporomandibular dysfunction:

    Everyone is affected differently by TMJ disorder. It can cause short-term discomfort or recurrent jaw pain for months or years. While the issue can be challenging to diagnose, there are several treatments available that can help. Consult your healthcare physician if you are experiencing jaw discomfort, headaches, or additional symptoms interfering with your enjoyment of life. They can identify the underlying problem and suggest appropriate treatment.

    What To Expect After TMD Treatment

    TMJ treatment seeks to ease this ailment’s symptoms while improving overall quality of life. TMJ treatment involves various techniques, such as physical therapy, medications, and dental equipment like splints and mouth guards.

    Physical therapy can assist in alleviating muscle tension and promote range of motion, whereas medication can aid with pain and inflammation management. Dental appliances are intended to prevent tooth grinding & clenching and can aggravate TMJ symptoms.

    Regarding TMD treatment, it is crucial to remember that every case is different. Your healthcare practitioner will collaborate to select the best treatment based on your specific needs and symptom reduction goals.

    Here is what to expect after TMD treatment:

    Reduced Inflammation

    A decrease in inflammation is among the most noticeable improvements you might experience after TMD treatment. TMJ causes inflammation of the jaw and adjacent tissues, resulting in discomfort and pain.

    Identifying the primary cause of TMJ is a critical step toward minimizing inflammation. Your dentist or healthcare professional will assess your condition and offer a tailored treatment plan. In severe circumstances, it could involve physical therapy, medication, or surgery.

    Following the indicated treatment plan could result in a gradual decrease in inflammation over time. This implies less discomfort and swelling around your jaw, which makes it easier for patients to speak and chew meals without challenges.

    Pain Relief

    TMJ dysfunction can be a painful illness that interferes with your regular activities. It can cause jaw, cheek, neck, and shoulder discomfort. The goal of TMJ treatment is to lessen and eventually eliminate the pain. Chronic pain alleviation is one of the most obvious outcomes post-TMJ treatment.

    TMJ therapy can provide instant relief by lowering inflammation in the affected area. Inflammation often exerts pressure on the nerves, causing discomfort or pain. Patients experience less pain when inflammation is reduced.

    Improved Sleep Quality

    For many TMJ patients, one of the most detrimental signs is interrupted sleep. Chronic jaw pain and discomfort might make it difficult to achieve a comfortable posture or stay asleep all night. However, after TMJ therapy, patients frequently report a dramatic improvement in sleep quality.

    Improved sleep quality is closely tied to decreased pain levels, which is one of the primary advantages of TMJ treatment. Individuals often feel more at ease and comfortable in bed after treating swelling and realigning the jaw. In addition to relieving discomfort, TMJ treatment also helps with other common conditions that interrupt sleep, such as headaches and neck stress.

    Increased Energy Levels

    The constant pain and discomfort resulting from a TMJ disorder can cause extreme exhaustion. After receiving TMD treatment, you will notice a significant increase in your energy levels. You will no longer have to deal with fatigue resulting from chronic pain and sleep disturbances. Improved sleep translates to more energy during the day. If you previously had difficulties sleeping due to TMJ pain, you will notice an improvement in your mood and productivity throughout the day. You will engage in activities that were once too exhausting, like going for a walk or engaging in sports, without feeling too drained. Enjoying activities you love leads to a happy and healthy life. The benefits of TMD treatment span beyond feeling well-rested. TMJ treatment enhances your enthusiasm and motivation as well.

    Find An Experienced Dentist Near Me

    TMJ/TMD pain can be unbearable and can affect many areas of your life. TMD treatment can be life-changing if you suffer from jaw pain and discomfort. The treatment reduces inflammation, relieves pain, improves sleep quality, and enhances energy levels. If you are experiencing any signs of TMD, contact a professional dentist to prevent further damage to your jaw joint. With the right treatment, you can enjoy a happy and healthy life. The Lakewood Dentist is the go-to dental clinic for TMJ/TMD treatment. Contact us at 562-423-1441 to speak to one of our dentists.

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    Find a Dentists Near Me

    Your smile is one of your defining features, and you should trust your oral and general health to an upstanding dental practice. The experienced team at The Lakewood Dentist is happy to be your family’s primary resource for practical and gentle dental services. With the proper care, you can enjoy a healthy, beautiful, and lasting smile, and we are excited to assist you in reaching your goals! Whether your smile needs restorative care to repair damaged teeth, cosmetic care to enhance your smile’s appearance, or you are looking for a new dentist to care for your family, we have your ultimate solution.

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