TMJ (Jaw Joint) Treatment
Jaw joint treatment applications are used to treat bone or soft tissue-related disorders that occur in the jaw joints that connect the lower and upper jaws.
These diseases occur in the bone or soft tissue and can cause discomfort from mild situations such as a small clicking sound from the jaw to serious problems such as locking the jaw. Jaw joint disorders and symptoms are as follows:
- Clicking sound from the jaw during chewing,
- Locking or snagging in the jaw,
- Limited mouth opening,
- Discomfort in the jaw,
- Pain in or around the ear,
- Difficulty in chewing,
- Slipping in the jaw,
- Difficulty in opening and closing the mouth,
- Difficulty in opening the jaw in the morning,
- Tooth sensitivity,
- Abrasions on tooth surfaces,
- Asymmetry formation in the facial anatomy due to the volumetric change in the chewing muscles.
Causes of TMJ Disorders
The causes of disorder that require treatment of the jaw joint are quite much:
- Anatomical problems,
- Continuous one-sided chewing,
- Posture and posture disorders,
- Impact on the jaw or joint area,
- Inflammation of the cartilage structure,
- Intense stress and related clenching and grinding problems,
- Movements disorders in teeth,
- Congenital anatomical disorders,
- Faulty oral and dental surgery procedures,
- Orthodontic problems,
- Gum chewing,
- Rheumatic diseases,
- Resting the hands too much on the jaw,
- Biting lips and sleeping face down.
TMJ Treatment Methods
The methods of treatment of the jaw joint used to eliminate jaw disorders vary according to the problem. After the cause of the disorder is identified, the treatment method is selected and applied.
- Exercise and Daily Life: The dentist informs the patient about the exercises he/she will do at home and the situations that he should pay attention to in his daily life.
- Physiotherapy: With the applied physical therapy, the pain is controlled, the muscle relaxes, and mouth opening is ensured.
- Drug Treatment: Pain relievers and muscle relaxants recommended by the dentist can be used. In addition, antidepressants can be used with expert opinion.
- Cold and Hot Treatment: It is a treatment method that can reduce pain and make home exercises easier to do.
- Injection into the Joint: A variety of injection applications can be done to increase joint lubricity and alleviate pain reactions.
- Psychotherapy: It is a method used to minimize the effects of psychological disorders.
- Manipulation: It is the treatment method used to resolve the jaw locking caused by the slippage of the joint disc or to relax the muscles.
- Splint: They are plaques placed on the lower jaw at night to provide joint opening and prevent clenching (bruxism).
Splint therapy is the most commonly used type of treatment among the types of jaw joint treatment. Split is a transparent, removable plate that stands between the lower and upper jaws, ensures the correct closure of the jaw, and relaxes the muscles. It can be used only at night while sleeping or for 24 hours, depending on the disorder.
The splint reduces the tight contact of the teeth with each other, allowing the jaw to move more comfortably and freely. It also guides the orthodontic treatment that can be applied after the treatment. The treatment process is about 3 to 6 months.
Things to be Considered
Things to consider about jaw joint disorder and treatment are as follows:
- Pay attention to your posture. Keep your teeth open and your lips closed.
- Do not use only one side while chewing. Try to use both sides equally.
- Get rid of the habit of grinding and clenching your teeth.
- Do not chew gum for longer periods.
- Avoid consuming too many nuts.
- Avoid hard foods and foods that are difficult to chew.