TMD the Causes Symptoms and Treatment for This Condition
Temporomandibular joint disorders (TMD) affect the jaw joint and muscles controlling the jaw. TMD conditions are challenging to diagnose and treat because of the complexity of the joint.
Approximately 12 percent of people in America experience TMD issues at any given time. Women are affected by this condition more than men, with 90 percent of all patients being women and experiencing severe pain and restricted jaw movement. Patients and doctors alike try to understand the causes, symptoms, and treatment options for TMD conditions.
This blog provides information on the causes of TMD conditions besides the symptoms and treatment for this disorder. Please proceed with reading to learn more about this condition.
Explaining the Temporomandibular Joint
The temporomandibular joint exists at the base of the skull. It is popularly referred to as the TMJ, and it helps permit the movement required by the jaw for speaking and chewing. The TMJ joint connects the mandible or the lower jaw and the temporal bone position on the side of the skull.
As the temporomandibular joint allows for movement both up and down and sideways, it is the most complex joint in the body. The complexity of the joint makes severe TMD challenging to treat effectively.
What Are TMD Conditions?
TMD conditions are issues affecting the temporomandibular joint explicitly. Various symptoms are causing varying degrees of discomfort to the affected individual. TMD conditions include a broad category and have many causes. Therefore different treatment options are available to deal with this problem.
Physicians consider various symptoms when diagnosing TMD conditions. The symptoms include persistent pain around the jaw and restricted jaw movement. TMD conditions disappear by themselves within a short time. However, some cases are recurrent.
What Causes Temporomandibular Joint Disorders?
If you want to understand what causes TMD, you will likely express surprise when informed there are many causes for this condition. Some causes identified by physicians include:
- Physical injury and arthritis.
- Autoimmune diseases infections and dental surgery.
- Bruxism or grinding and clenching of the teeth when sleeping.
Other causes of TMD conditions include genetic, environmental, and hormonal. For example, violinists experience TMD conditions more than the general population because their work requires them to hold an instrument under the jaw. As a result, violinists strain the jaw leading to TMD conditions.
Women experience TMD conditions more than men, and researchers are currently looking at hormonal reasons for the condition. However, researchers don’t understand the precise reasons why women are affected by this issue more than men and are investigating the link between the female hormone estrogen and TMD conditions hoping it will prove beneficial.
What Are TMD Symptoms?
The most apparent symptom of temporomandibular joint conditions is paying when moving the jaw. Affected individuals may also experience headaches or migraines, backaches, or neck aches besides earaches and pain around the ear radiating to the cheeks. If no pain is experienced near the jaw, physicians often look for other symptoms when diagnosing this problem.
Another familiar but penniless symptom is hearing unusual popping and clicking of the jaw when eating, speaking, or merely opening the mouth. Noises occurring when moving the jaw are not always symptoms of TMD. In reality, jaw noises are pretty standard, and people need medical advice only if the noises occur with the pain was limited jaw movement. Patients may also experience restricted jaw movement causing severe discomfort in everyday life.
Remedies for TMD Issues
Various TMD treatment options are available for patients ranging from self-care at home to surgery.
Primarily people can successfully treat TMD issues with self-care and lifestyle changes if they are experiencing mild to moderate symptoms. Some recommended TMD treatments include:
- Reducing the movement of the jaw by restricting patients to having soft foods.
- Avoiding chewing gum.
- Clenching or tensing of the jaw.
Exercises and counseling are also recommended besides a combination of rest and exercise.
Most specific treatment options are available for TMD issues caused by pre-existing conditions. For example, if the issue is a result of bruxism, a nightguard helps alleviate the symptoms. Dentists can provide a customized nightguard to the patient where appropriate.
Suppose the issue results from degenerative conditions like osteoarthritis; physicians recommend steroid injections as a treatment option. Steroid injections can resolve TMD issues entirely in some people, while in others, it is a temporary measure. Short-term over-the-counter pain relievers can also reduce discomfort from TMD issues.
Physicians recommend surgery for patients with extreme cases of TMD issues. In extremely severe cases, patients may need a joint replacement, although the treatment is rarely necessary.
TMD issues are not life-threatening and will resolve by themselves in a month or two. Symptoms of the condition are mild or moderate and only cause minimal inconvenience. However, in some cases, TMD issues are long-lasting and severe. If the condition lowers the quality of life, treatment is necessary as soon as possible to manage or resolve the issue.