The signs of temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders, especially when mild, might go away without treatment. If your symptoms do not go away, your doctor might suggest a few treatments, frequently more than one to be carried out concurrently.
What is the temporomandibular joint?
The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) consists of two joints that connect your lower jaw to your skull. These joints move in front of each ear. They consist of the temporal bone (the side and base of the skull) and the lower jaw (mandible).
The TMJs are some of the body's most complicated joints. These joints and a multitude of muscles allow the mandible to move forward, backward, and side to side.
Smooth muscle movements are possible when the mandible (jawbone) and the joints are properly positioned. They include chewing, talking, yawning, and swallowing.
When specific parts (such as muscles, ligaments, articular disc jawbone, or temporal bone) are out of alignment, they do not move well together, which could result in a lot of problems.
What are TMJ disorders?
Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders (TMDs) are conditions that affect the jaw muscles, TMJs, and nerves that control facial discomfort. TMD could be caused by any issue that stops the intricate network of muscles, bones, and joints from operating in harmony.
According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, TMD is categorized as:
- Myofascial pain: TMD most frequently manifests in this way. It causes discomfort or soreness in the muscles that control jaw, neck, and shoulder functions and the fascia (the connective tissue that covers muscles).
- Internal derangement of the joint: Indicates a misaligned jaw or displaced disc. The cartilage cushion that lies between the jaw bone's head and the skull is called the articular disc. Alternatively, it could indicate condyle (the jaw bone's rounded end meets the temporal skull bone) damage.
- Degenerative joint disease: The jaw joint may experience rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis.
What causes TMJ disorders?
The exact cause of this condition may not always be known.
The most common causes of temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders (TMDs) include:
- Too much stress on jaw joints and muscles that regulate eating, swallowing, and speaking might occasionally be the primary reason. Bruxism could be the cause of this strain. Bruxism is the repeated act of clenching or grinding the teeth.
- May result from injury to the neck, head, or jaw.
- A bad bite or orthodontic braces.
- TMJ pain can be brought on by arthritis and disc displacement in the jaw joint.
- Other times, the pain from another unpleasant medical condition, such as fibromyalgia or irritable bowel syndrome, may coexist with or exacerbate the discomfort from TMD.
- Significantly influenced by poor posture. For instance, keeping your head forward all day while using a computer puts strain on your face and neck muscles.
A recent National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research study reported that clinical, psychosocial, sensory, genetic, and neurological system components might increase a person's chance of developing chronic TMD.
What are the symptoms of TMJ disorders?
Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders (TMDs) are more common in people in their 20s and 40s and tend to affect women more than men.
The following are some of the most typical TMD symptoms:
- Biting or chewing difficulty or discomfort
- Jaw pain or discomfort (often most common in the morning or late afternoon)
- A ringing or aching in the ears (not caused by an infection of the inner ear canal)
- Clenching or grinding of the teeth
- Clicking or popping of the jaw
- Numbness or tingling feeling in the fingers
- Limited jaw motions
- A change in the way the upper and lower teeth fit together
- Facial pain
- Swelling around TMJ
How are TMJ disorders treated?
Treatment options include simple self-care methods, conservative therapy, injections, and open surgery. Medical specialists generally agree that conservative, nonsurgical therapy should be tried first. Surgery should only be utilized as a last option.
Many minor temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders (TMDs) can frequently be treated at home without the need for further medical attention.
Here are some recommendations that could ease TMD discomfort:
- Eat soft foods to reduce joint inflammation
- Learn to stretch, relax, or massage your jaw's surrounding muscles (for this, you can get assistance from your doctor, dentist, or physical therapist)
- Avoid doing things, such as yawning, humming, and chewing gum, which may aggravate your symptoms
- Try applying cold or moist heat to your face
- Acquire stress-relieving skills
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as naproxen, ibuprofen, or acetaminophen, temporarily
- Antidepressants or medications for muscle relaxation
- Injecting muscle relaxants, such as botulinum toxin
- Rarely, TMJ irritation can be treated with corticosteroid injections
- Mouth guards or oral splints (occlusal appliances). Wearing a hard or soft device implanted over their teeth will help people with jaw pain, but the reasons why these devices are helpful are not fully understood.
- Physical therapy could involve exercises to stretch and strengthen jaw muscles, ultrasound, moist heat, and ice.
- Counseling can help you avoid the situations and actions that may make your pain worse. Examples include biting your fingernails, clenching, or grinding your teeth, and leaning on your chin.
Surgical or other procedures
- Arthrocentesis: Arthrocentesis is a minimally invasive treatment in which tiny needles are inserted into the joint to allow fluid to be irrigated through the joint to flush out debris and inflammatory byproducts.
- TMJ arthroscopy: In some instances, arthroscopic surgery can be just as successful as open-joint surgery to treat different forms of TMJ issues. Small surgical instruments are used to do the procedure after an arthroscope is introduced through a small, thin tube (cannula) that has been inserted into the joint space. Compared to open-joint surgery, TMJ arthroscopy is less dangerous and less likely to cause complications, but it has certain drawbacks.
- Modified condylotomy: Involves surgery on the mandible rather than the joint, indirectly treating the TMJ.
- Open-joint surgery: Also called arthrotomy and is used to repair or replace the joint if your jaw pain does not go away after trying more conservative therapies, and there is a structural issue in the joint. The risks associated with open-joint surgery are higher, so they are carefully considered after weighing the benefits and limitations.
- Berry Good for You: Some Foods Can Strengthen Your Brain
- Allergies & Asthma: Keep Sneezes & Wheezes at Bay This Holiday Season
- COVID in Pregnancy Can Vary — Get Vaccinated to Stay Safe
- Caregiving Can Heighten Loneliness, or Ease It
- Lots of Teen Boys Use Steroids, Often With Side Effects
- More Health News »
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Disorders. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/15066-temporomandibular-disorders-tmd-overview#management-and-treatment
TMJ disorders. https://www.mountsinai.org/health-library/diseases-conditions/tmj-disorders
Temporomandibular Disorder (TMD). https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/temporomandibular-disorder-tmd
TMJ Disorders. https://www.sparrow.org/departments-conditions/conditions/tmj-disorders
Top Do TMJ Disorders Go Away Related Articles
Dental Problems: Tooth Decay, TMJ, Mouth Pain Causes & TreatmentsDo you have a toothache? What is oral cancer? Symptoms like mouth pain and sensitive teeth can indicate dental problems. Learn the causes of painful problems in your mouth like tooth decay, TMJ, and dry mouth. See how bad breath starts, and how to fight bad breath with dental treatments that work.
Joint Aspiration (Arthrocentesis)Joint aspiration (arthrocentesis) is a procedure where fluid is drained from a joint with a needle and syringe for laboratory analysis. This may help determine the causes of joint swelling or arthritis.
Joint Replacement Surgery of the HandJoint replacement surgery of the hand entails replacing a damaged joint with an artificial joint. The prosthetic joint is typically made of silicone, and the surgery is used to address joint breakdown caused by rheumatoid arthritis or psoriatic arthritis.
Knee Joint PictureThe knee joint has three parts. See a picture of Knee Joint and learn more about the health topic.
OA of the Knee ExercisesLearn about osteoarthritis and exercises that relieve knee osteoarthritis pain, stiffness and strengthen the knee joint and surrounding muscles through this picture slideshow.
RA Friendly ExercisesRegular exercise boosts fitness and helps reverse joint stiffness for people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). WebMD demonstrates helpful exercises to get you started.
What Can I Expect After a Sacroiliac Joint Injection?A sacroiliac (SI) joint injection is the injection of local anesthetics or corticosteroids into the SI joint to treat pain. The SI joint injection can be used as a treatment or as a diagnostic technique.
Sacroiliac (SI) Joint PainSacroiliac (SI) joint pain is a general term to reflect pain in the SI joints. Causes of SI joint pain include osteoarthritis, abnormal walking pattern, and disorders that can cause SI joint inflammation including gout, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, and ankylosing spondylitis. Treatment includes oral medications, cortisone injections, and surgery.
Temporomandibular Joint Syndrome (TMJ)Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) syndrome is a disorder that causes symptoms like pain, clicking, and popping of the jaw. TMJ is caused by injury to the temporomandibular joint. Stress, poor posture, jaw trauma, genetic predisposition, and inflammatory disorders are risk factors for the condition. A variety of self-care measures (application of ice, use of over-the-counter pain medication, massage, relaxation techniques) and medical treatment options (dental splint, Botox, prescription medications, surgery) are available to manage TMJ. The prognosis of TMJ is good with proper treatment.
What Does Psoriatic Arthritis Joint Pain Feel Like?Psoriatic arthritis may lead to various degrees of inflammation, swelling, stiffness, and pain in the joints, especially on one side of the body. Pain caused in the joints can be debilitating and reduce mobility.
What Foods Cause Joint Pain?With arthritis, the constant pain and stiffness often lead the body to be in a state of stress or "inflammation." Foods that cause joint pain include heavily processed foods, red meat, foods high in sugar, fried foods, alcohol and foods rich in MSG, refined carbohydrates, gluten and purines.
What Is Joint Aspiration (Arthrocentesis)?Joint aspiration (arthrocentesis) is a diagnostic procedure that involves the extraction and analysis of the synovial fluid in the joints. It is an important procedure used for diagnosing arthritis and differentiating inflammatory arthritis from noninflammatory arthritis. Joint aspiration is a relatively quick procedure but may be performed under local anesthesia to avoid pain. Complications are rare.
Why Are My Joints So Stiff? What Can I Do?You use your joints to bend, touch, type, drive -- to do just about everything. Find out more from WebMD about what can make your joints stiff and what you can do about it.
Why Is My Thumb Joint So Painful?Causes of thumb joint pain include trigger thumb, thumb arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, De Quervain's tendonitis, and skier's thumb.
Will Joint Pain From Menopause Go Away?Whether joint pain from menopause will go away depends on whether the joint pain is purely due to hormonal changes seen in menopause or due to other associated factors.