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TMJ/TMD


Woman holding jaw due to TMJ pain
The temporomandibular joints are two hinges that connect the jaw to the skull. The hinges are located in front of the ear on either side of the jaw. Anything that results in pain or discomfort of the temporomandibular joint can be termed as temporomandibular disorder (TMJ/TMD).

At Sabeti Cosmetic Dentistry, we recommend medication, non-invasive therapies, and surgical treatments to treat temporomandibular disorders.

Symptoms of TMJ


TMJ disorders are marked by various symptoms. Some common signs include:
•  Pain or tenderness in the jaw.
•  Ache in your face.
•  Sharp ache in and around your ear.
•  Difficulty in making your jaw move, including speaking, chewing, and yawning.
•  Locking of the jaw, which prevents the opening and closing of the mouth.
•  Popping, grating, and clicking noise when moving your jaw.

Causes of TMJ


Research has not been able to find the exact cause of temporomandibular disorders, though it is believed that a variety of risk factors may contribute towards it:
•  Weakened bone and joints due to age.
•  Types of bone diseases like osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis that erode the joint.
•  Injury or trauma to the jaw that jostles the disk out of its proper alignment or damages it.
•  Habitual grinding of the teeth or bruxism, though not all people who suffer from this condition develop TMJ disorders.
•  Connective tissues diseases that affect the TMJ.

Treatment of TMJ


In some cases, symptoms indicating towards TMJ disorders may go away without any treatment. However, if discomfort and pain persist, there are a variety of treatment options that Sabeti Cosmetic Dentistry can offer:

Medication


Certain painkillers can help relieve the pain and inflammation that is linked to temporomandibular disorders. These may consist of anti-inflammatory drugs or pain relievers like ibuprofen. Tricyclic antidepressants in low doses can be used to manage pain, teeth grinding, and insomnia. Muscle relaxants can also help relieve the pain caused by muscle spasms.

Non-drug Therapies


Some therapies for TMJ disorders are:
•  Night mouthguards and oral splints made of soft or firm material worn over the teeth can help alleviate pain in the jaw.
•  Physical therapy: We may also recommend exercises that can help to strengthen the muscles in your jaw. This will be accompanied by other therapeutic treatments like applying hot or cold ice packs to the painful area or using ultrasound technology.
•  Counseling: We may also educate you on the risk factors and behaviors that can result in TMJ disorders, like grinding your teeth or chewing on pencils.

Surgeries


If all the above treatments do not work, we may suggest surgical intervention:
•  Arthrocentesis: This is a minimally-invasive surgery that involves injecting fluid to the joint so that decay, debris or inflammatory byproducts can be washed away.
•  Arthroscopy: This involves making an incision in the jaw, placing a cannula in the joint space, and using a camera to remove inflamed tissues or thickened cartilage. However, this procedure also poses a few risks and has certain limitations.
•  Modified condylotomy: This surgery seeks to address TMJ disorder indirectly by not operating on the joint but on the lower jaw. This may be effective for jaw locking and pain management.
•  Open-joint surgery: This is a high-risk surgery that should only be performed if you do not respond to other treatment options, and if the discomfort is significant. This involves exposing the TMJ and repairing, replacing, or repositioning the joint. However, this can lead to life-long side effects so it should only be undertaken after you have been fully informed of its risks.

If you feel symptoms of TMJ disorders, call us now at (213) 314-0636, and we will make an effective treatment plan for you.

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