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Wednesday, July 13, 2011

TMJ Symptoms And Treatment Options

By Keith Sully

The temporomandibular joints are composed of nerves, blood vessels, muscles, and bones. They are hinges immediately in front of the ear on each side of your head connecting the lower jaw to the temporal bone of the skull, and they control the jawbone's rotation or hinge actions, or the opening and `wider. The coordination of these muscle movements let you chew, talk and yawn.

Jaw joint complications result in aches in the jaw, jaw joint, surrounding facial muscles, ear, head, neck, or shoulder. Others refer to TMD as myofacial pain dysfunction and Costen's syndrome. You may feel discomfort in the body parts immediately surrounding the jaw joints and this not unusual, however it is better to still look up the different TMJ symptoms and treatment and see if your pain qualifies as a jaw joint disorder.

It's advisable to consult your doctor regarding TMJ symptoms and treatment, but a personal understanding about how it can affect you would be helpful before you even go for a check-up. There are a number of bad habits to avoid, such as chewing gum, that your physician will discuss with you to help prevent or ease joint problems. But if you experience a locking of jaw, proceed to the nearest hospital emergency department and get help. They will treat your locked jaw by sedating you until the pain is tolerable and moving the jaw in different directions until it loosens.

Try placing your fingers in front of your ears and move your mouth; here you will feel the jaw joints. The pain usually starts with biting and chewing discomfort, but it can spread through, making the mouth and face swell, and causing headaches and dizziness. It can also radiate to the neck and shoulders, and you may experience muscle spasms.

Clicking, grating and/or popping sounds may also be audible to yourself or other people beside you. This could mean that the discs are displaced. TMD also causes throbbing and ringing in the ears, and even loss of hearing. These symptoms are similar to those of ear problems.

Gentle therapies are usually advised first for TMJ symptoms and treatment. Try massaging the muscles that hurt, avoiding the area around the throat. Do this repeatedly for a day until the pain goes away. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) may help reduce the swelling and pain. You can also try moist heat or cold packs on the affected area, multivitamin supplements, and biofeedback. Some dentists may recommend mouth guards, also called splints, or orthodontics to realign your teeth. Reconstructive surgery or any irreversible treatment method should be your last resort, and should be done only when your doctor says it is the only way to correct the problem.

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