ora dental studio
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tmj disorders

The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is a small joint located in front of the ear where the skull and lower jaw meet. It permits the lower jaw (mandible) to move and function. TMJ disorders are not uncommon and have a variety of symptoms. Patients may complain of earaches, headaches, migraines, and limited ability to open their mouth. They may also complain of clicking or grating sounds in the joint and feel pain when opening and closing their mouth.

Determining the cause of a TMJ problem is important, because it is the cause that guides the treatment. When symptoms of TMJ trouble appear, an oral and maxillofacial surgeon should be consulted. A specialist in the areas of the mouth, teeth and jaws, the oral and maxillofacial surgeon is in a good position to correctly diagnose the problem. Special imaging studies of the joints may be ordered and appropriate referral to other dental or medical specialists or a physical therapist may be made.

TMJ treatment may range from conservative dental and medical care to complex surgery. Depending on the diagnosis, treatment may include short-term non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs for pain and muscle relaxation, bite plate or splint therapy, and even stress management counseling. Generally, if non-surgical treatment is unsuccessful or if there is clear joint damage, surgery may be indicated.

 


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