TMJ and Neck Problems

Do you have undiagnosed neck pain that is making you suffer? You have tried different medications and methods but there seems to be no relief? It is a less known fact that millions of people worldwide suffer neck pains due to a condition called Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJ).

The pain caused by a TMJ condition originates in the jaws and spreads to other neighbouring regions including shoulders and deep down to neck pain.

What is TMJ Disorder?

The TMJ joint is responsible for jaw movements and related activities. It could occur due to three reasons

  • Myofascial pain: which is a pain in the muscles of the jaw, neck, and shoulders
  • Injury: That could be due to a dislocated jaw or displaced disc
  • Degenerative joint disease: Caused due to rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis in the jaw joint.
  • Overuse of the jaw joint muscles
  • Bruxism (clench or grind your teeth)

What are the Signs of TMJ Disorder?

  • Jaw pain when you chew or yawn
  • Clicking or popping sounds when opening or closing the mouth
  • Difficulty opening and closing the mouth
  • A locked or stiff jaw
  • Sensitive teeth even when there is no infection or gum disease
  • An earache without an ear infection

Diagnosis

The TMJ condition can be diagnosed through a TMJ specialist who is a dentist trained to treat these conditions. The TMJ specialist might recommend –

  • Full face X-rays to view the jaws, temporomandibular joints, and teeth
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • Computer tomography (CT scan)

The dentist might recommend you different treatments based on your condition.

You may get referred to an oral surgeon who specializes in surgery in and around the entire face, mouth, and jaw area. Or you could be recommended to an orthodontist to ensure your teeth, muscles, and joints work as they should.

Medications

Your dentist may prescribe higher doses of NSAIDs for easing pain and swelling. Anti-anxiety medicines to relieve stress, as well as muscle relaxants.

A splint or night guard
These are plastic mouthpieces to be put over your upper and lower teeth, so they don’t touch, therefore reducing clenching or grinding and correcting your bite.

Therapy

Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS)

TENS uses low-level electrical currents to provide pain relief by relaxing your jaw joint and facial muscles.

Ultrasound
Deep heat is applied to the joint to relieve its soreness and improve mobility.

Trigger-point injections
These are pain relief medicines injected into tender facial muscles called “trigger points”.

Radio wave therapy
The Radio waves stimulate the joint increasing the blood flow and eases pain.

Low-level laser therapy
This therapy helps in lowering pain and inflammation.

Surgery for TMD

Surgery is the last resort a dentist would suggest if no other treatment were working.

There are three types of surgery for TMD depending on your condition.

Arthrocentesis
Is a minor procedure that is carried out for locked jaws and dislodged discs.

Arthroscopy
It is a minimal surgery conducted with an arthroscope that is a narrow tube with a camera inserted through a small slit around the ear. It is less complicated and risky as compared to open surgery.

Open-joint surgery
Some cases cannot be treated in other ways but open-joint surgery. It is performed in conditions where –

  • The bony structures in the jaw joint are wearing down
  • Tumours in or around the joint
  • The joint is scarred or full of bone chips

This condition can be treated with a TMJ specialist.

At Ivory Dental clinic, we are experts at TMJ treatments. We are one of the best dentists in Nerul, Navi Mumbai. If you are struggling with a neck pain that is still undiagnosed, you should book an early appointment with our TMJ specialist.