WHAT IS TMJ?
The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is located just in front of the lower part of the ear. This is the part where the joint allows the lower jaw to move. It is a ball-and-socket joint, just like the hip or shoulder. When the mouth opens wide, the ball (called the condyle) comes out of the socket and moves forward. It goes back into place when the mouth closes.
SYMPTOMS OF HAVING TMD
Problems with your jaw and the muscles in your face that control it are known as temporomandibular disorders (TMD). TMD often causes severe pain and discomfort. Common symptoms are headaches (often mimicking migraines), earaches, a clicking or popping sound when you open and close your mouth or even a tenderness of the jaw muscles.
Your dentist will assess the position of your jaw and check whether you are able to close your mouth with ease and uses X-rays to confirm his clinical diagnosis.
Your dentist might insert a dental appliance called “Occlusal Splint” over the teeth for the therapy for TMD. This device will help relieve pain and assist in restoring the function of the jaw.
A soft or liquid diet for several weeks after the treatment should be observed. This reduces jaw movement and stress. Avoid foods that are hard to chew, such as tough meats, carrots, hard candies or ice cubes. Also, be careful not to open your mouth too wide.
Laser treatment is also another treatment option. The energy of the laser is able to penetrate deep into the tissues surrounding the affected joint. Inflammation that is set deep in the tissues can be decreased and relief is felt immediately. Using laser treatment also helps to stimulate quicker healing from TMD.