Treatment for T.M.J.(Jaw Joint) Pain & clenching disorders
TMJ(temporomandibular joint) is the jaw joint connects lower jaw to skull and helps in opening and closing of jaw. It’s a complex joint and composed of muscles, tendons, and bones. Each component contributes to the smooth operation of the TMJ.
What are TMJ disorders, and how are TMJ disorders caused?
TMJ disorders are a group of complex problems of the jaw joint. TMJ disorders are also sometimes referred to as myofacial pain dysfunction. Because muscles and joints work together, a problem with either one can lead to stiffness, headaches, ear pain, bite problems (malocclusion), clicking sounds, or locked jaws. The following are conditions that can lead to TMJ disorders.
- Teeth grinding and teeth clenching (bruxism) increasing the wear on the cartilage lining of the TMJ. Those who grind or clench their teeth may be unaware of this outselling unless they are told by someone observing this pattern while sleeping or by a dental professional noticing telltale signs of wear and tear on the teeth. Many patients awaken in the morning with jaw or ear pain.
- Habitual gum chewing or fingernail biting.
- Dental problems and misalignment of the teeth (malocclusion). Patients may complain that it is difficult to find a comfortable bite or that the way their teeth fit together has changed. Chewing on only one side of the jaw can lead to or be a result of TMJ problems.
- Trauma to the jaws: Previous fractures in the jaw or facial bones can lead to TMJ disorders.
- Stress frequently leads to unreleased nervous energy. It is very common for people under stress to release this nervous energy by either consciously or unconsciously grinding or clenching their teeth.
There is no direct treatment available for T.M.J. Pain except surgery. The problem is multifactorial and needs careful diagnosis and treatment.
Heat therapy and medication
These assist in reducing muscle tension and spasm. However, immediately after an injury to the TMJ, treatment with cold applications is best. Cold packs can be helpful for relieving pain.
Massage and laser bio stimulation helps to decrease pain and increase the range of motion and strength of the joint.
Stress support groups, psychological counselling, and medications can also assist in reducing muscle tension. Biofeedback helps people recognize times of increased muscle activity and spasm and provides methods to help control them.
A custom-made acrylic soft or Hard splint also called as night guard, which fits over the teeth is commonly prescribed for night. It acts to balance the bite and reduce or eliminate teeth grinding or clenching (bruxism).
Correction of bite abnormalities
Corrective dental therapy, such as orthodontics, may be required to correct an abnormal bite. Dental restorations assist in creating a more stable bite. Adjustments of bridges or crowns act to ensure proper alignment of the teeth.
Surgery is indicated in those situations in which medical therapy has failed. It is done as a last resort. TMJ arthroscopy, ligament tightening, joint restructuring, and joint replacement are considered in the most severe cases of joint damage or deterioration.