TMJ jaw pain disorder


TMJ, more properly called Temporomandibular Joint Disorder or TMJD is a dysfunction of the hinge (temporomandibular joint, TMJ) responsible for opening and closing the mouth and the side-to-side motions used in chewing. Characterized by jaw and facial pain or discomfort, TMJ is not a disease unto itself, but rather a cluster of symptoms. Contact our Vancouver medical clinic for more information about treatments for TMJ.

What is the TMJ (temporomandibular joint)?

The temporomandibular joint connects the mandible (lower jaw) to the skull, fitting into a socket just below the ear on either side of the face. Not only can the disorder cause radiating pain affecting the jaw, neck and face, in some cases, the jaw’s motion may be limited and can become dislocated.

Symptoms of TMJ disease

  • Pain in the face, jaw, mouth or near the ear.
  • Discomfort and difficulty chewing.
  • Difficulty opening and closing the mouth.
  • Migraines.
  • The jaw may lock in the open position preventing the mouth from closing.
  • Painful clicking and popping (although noises in the jaw are also common in the general population).

According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, TMJD affects over 10 million Americans and is thought to be more common in women.

What causes TMJ disease?

Although scientists don’t know the exact causes, TMJD may be the result of:

  • Improper top and bottom teeth closure (malocclusion).
  • Grinding teeth (bruxism) which causes much stress to joints and may injure ligaments.
  • Disc and cartilage wear.
  • Trauma from injury.

Treatments for TMJD

Treatments for TMJ disorder are generally conservative and include ice, splinting with a bite guard, muscle relaxants, ultrasound and massage. In severe cases, where movement of the jaw is limited, surgery to repair or replace the joint may be recommended.

Neuromodulators for TMJ disease

Neuromodulators are most often used to relax facial muscles (which reduces wrinkles) and are an alternative TMJ treatment.  Although clinical studies have been inconclusive and more studies are needed to determine the effectiveness of neuromodulators for TMJ, according to the American Academy of Facial Aesthetics (AAFA) “Neuromodulators relieves jaw tension by making muscles unable to engage in the powerful, often the unconscious movement of the jaw that produces headaches and pain.” Neuromodulators treatments are in-office, quick, and non-invasive treatments that are relatively painless and require no recovery time. The treatments can, according to AAFA, most patients experience improvement in one or two days but relief from symptoms may take a week in other patients. Neuromodulators for TMJ side effects are usually quite minimal but may include bruising, redness or numbness at the injection site, flu-like symptoms, nausea, and muscle weakness. These side effects are infrequent and usually resolve quickly.

More about TMJ treatments

Contact Anti-Aging Medical in Vancouver, BC, Canada for more information about TMJ disorder and Neuromodulators.

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