Have you ever heard a clicking sound when you open your mouth or when you chew? TMJ, or the temporomandibular joint, affects the hinge joint that connects the jawbones to the skull. You will know you have to see a neurologist when opening and closing your jaw becomes impossible and very painful. He/she will discuss with you the possible causes and treatments to help relieve your pain. Neurologists affirm that chronic TMJ damages the tendons, cartilages and muscles without proper care, and can lead to more severe conditions like nerve damage or permanent dislocation. Those experiencing TMJ in New York should consider arranging an appointment with one of the providers at NY Neurology Associates. The facility offers its patients modern treatment solutions for, among other conditions, chronic jaw pain and debilitating headaches.
What is TMJ?
Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is a problem that develops when your temporomandibular joints get inflamed or irritated. Usually associated with chronic teeth grinding during sleep, many people suffer from TMJ with little knowledge. When you suspect the onset of TMJ, your doctor will suggest you receive immediate medical attention to resolve your symptoms and prevent future complications.
What are the signs and symptoms of TMJ?
Several signs characterize TMJ, such as severe headaches and painful jaws. Though the disorder needs professional attention, you will not have to visit your doctor if you are not in pain or are not experiencing complications during jaw movements. TMJ symptoms include:
- Jaw pain or tenderness
- Difficulty chewing or painful chewing
- Severe ear pain
- Facial pain
- Pain on the temporomandibular joints
- Locking of the temporomandibular joint
What causes TMJ?
A hinge and sliding action characterizes the temporomandibular joint. The joint also interacts with bones that are covered by cartilage to ensure smooth movement. Severe stress is one of TMJ’s most common contributing factors which causes tension in your facial muscles. With contracted facial muscles, uneven strains are exerted on the jaw joints and can result in inflammation, irritation and pain. TMJ symptoms can also occur in people with missing, crooked or misaligned teeth because they suffer bite balance problems. Additionally, any dental restoration that alters bite balance will also affect your temporomandibular joints.
You may also suffer painful TMJ when:
- The joint’s cartilage gets damaged
- The joint experiences a strong impact
- Disc dislocation.
How is TMJ treated?
While TMJ treatments previously required surgery, you can now be treated without a surgical procedure thanks to modern advancements. BOTOX injections are the most effective treatment options for TMJ. However, the number of injections will depend on your facial structure and the severity of your symptoms. These injections act to block nerve signals that cause your jaw joints to contract. Once your neurologist is done providing the injections, he will ask you to sit in an upright position for an hour to ensure the medication remains in your joint.
Apart from the BOTOX injections, TMJ nerve blocks can also be used for treatment. TMJ blocks are injections of medications designed to reduce inflammation and irritation in the affected jaw muscles and joints. These effective injections relieve you from painful symptoms, but will need to be repeated to provide long-term relief.
Do not let a chronic TMJ dislocation negatively impact your life when you can get help from NY Neurology Associates’ team of temporomandibular joint specialists. Book an appointment today to embark on your healing journey.