The temporomandibular joints or TMJ are one of your most important joints that you use every day to eat and speak. So when it feels tender or painful for days and weeks on end, it can quickly become unbearable. Luckily, there are solutions, and at Allure Dentistry in West Los Angeles, Ladan Danialian, DDS, and her team can help you find the right one for you. For more information on TMJ disorders and treatment options, call the office today or make an appointment online.
The temporomandibular joints (TMJ) are the joints on either side of your head that connect your jawbone to your skull. Each joint is similar to a sliding hinge and is cushioned by cartilage and a small, shock-absorbing disc. The joints play a very important role in the strength of your bite.
TMJ disorders are a condition where the TMJ begins experiencing symptoms like:
You may also notice a clicking or grating sound when you move your jaw. This clicking can also occur without any other symptoms of TMJ disorders, and should not be cause for concern if it occurs without causing pain or tenderness.
Most people with TMJ disorders aren’t sure of the exact cause. It can sometimes be a result of a jaw injury, genetic predisposition or arthritis, or a combination of all three. Many people with TMJ disorders have a history of clenching their jaw or grinding their teeth, known as bruxism.
Because the TMJ is important and simultaneously vulnerable, TMJ disorders are relatively common. Luckily, they can usually be treated, and reversed, easily and without the need for surgery.
Minor cases of TMJ pain can sometimes pass without intervention, but one or more of the following treatments are most common.
Anti-inflammatories and pain relievers deal directly with the symptoms of TMJ disorders, and certain antidepressants can prevent bruxism and provide pain relief.
Essentially mouth guards worn over the teeth, oral appliances can also help relieve symptoms of TMJ disorders and prevent recurring pain.
Therapy can help the symptoms of TMJ disorders and also help address its root causes, like bruxism.
In the most severe cases, surgery may be necessary to repair the joint. Arthrocentesis is a minimally invasive surgery that can be used to drain fluid from the swollen joint, and it’s frequently used to treat TMJ pain. More advanced options, like TMJ arthroscopy or open joint replacement surgery, may also be viable, but Dr. Danialian advocates for a conservative approach to treatment, and will exhaust all other pain relief options before advising surgery.
If you’re experiencing TMJ pain, call Allure Dentistry today or make an appointment online with the scheduling tool.