TMJ disorders can be uncomfortable at best. There is no cure for them, but there are treatments that can ease symptoms so that you aren’t disrupted by pain or difficulty chomping on your favourite foods. Here is an explanation on what TMJ disorder are and what you can do about them.
What Is TMJ?
TMJ stands for temporomandibular joint. It’s the joint that connects your jawbone to your skull. TMJ disorders are also sometimes just referred to as “TMJ.” A TMJ disorder is characterised by pain or tenderness in the jaw or the TMJ joint itself. It can also cause discomfort while chewing, locking of the jaw or chronic clenching due to pain.
The cause of TMJ is not known for sure, but the pain is generally due to erosion of cartilage in the disc inside of the joint. Possible causes of this may be arthritis, or injury to the jaw. There is also some evidence to suggest that TMJ disorders might be genetic, but further research is needed to confirm. Chronic, long-term bruxism (teeth grinding) may also contribute to TMJ disorders, but not always.
Treatments for TMJ Disorders
Traditionally, TMJ-related pain would be relieved by applying a warm towel or ice pack. A dentist or physio may recommend jaw exercises and stretches to relax the jaw, and nightguards can help reduce clenching. Doctors may also recommend non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) to relieve the pain as needed.
More recently, injectable treatments have been gaining attention, using anti-wrinkle product. Due to TGA regulations, we are unable to publish the name of the injectable product, but you are welcome to contact us to find out more.
Injectable anti-wrinkle product was originally used to treat eye spasms, and patients noticed as a side benefit that they did not get wrinkles in the areas that were injected. This is because the product essentially relaxes the muscles it is injected into. When it comes to treating the forehead and crows’ feet, anti-wrinkle product is used to relax the muscles that cause the skin to wrinkle with certain movements.
The same method can be used for TMJ disorders. The anti-wrinkle product is injected into the masseter muscles that cause the jaw to clench. You can still move your jaw because the masseter is a large muscle, but you won’t have as much tension in the muscles that cause clenching and amplify the pain of TMJ.
If you think you may be experiencing pain from a TMJ disorder, it is imperative that you speak to a health professional for a proper diagnosis and personalised recommendations before going ahead with any treatments or remedies.