TMJ is an abbreviation for the temporomandibular joint, which connects your lower jaw to your skull. TMJ disorders affect this joint and the chewing muscles, causing pain around the jaw, ear and face. Symptoms vary by patient but can also include locking of the jaw, a clicking sound or limited movement.
If you experience persistent pain or tenderness in your jaw area, or have trouble opening or closing your mouth, Dr. Abadan recommends you make an appointment to be examined immediately.
Understanding TMJ disorders involves looking at the anatomy of the temporomandibular joint and connecting jawbone. The bones that interact with the joint itself are covered with cartilage and separated by a small disk that absorbs any shock. TMJ disorders may arise if the structural components malfunction in one of the following ways:
Perpetual teeth clenching or grinding can also put pressure on the joint and cause pain and other TMJ disorder symptoms.
There are several ways to diagnose TMJ disorders, including physical exams, X-rays, CT scans and MRIs. When examining your jaw, Dr. Abadan will look for your jaw’s range of motion, listen to your jaw as you open and close your mouth and may press on areas around your jaw to identify tender or painful spots.
Many cases of TMJ disorders can be treated non-surgically, while severe cases may require more invasive measures like surgical intervention. Dr. Abadan prefers to start by recommending more conservative treatment methods, which include the following:
Should these methods fail to correct the problem, Dr. Abadan will explore procedures such as physical therapy to stretch and strengthen the jaw muscles, injections of corticosteroids, or even Botox or surgery to repair or replace the joint.
Take the first step toward alleviating the persistent pain of a TMJ disorder: Contact Dr. Abadan at 858-350-7400 to schedule a consultation. Upon diagnosis, she can review your treatment options and develop a plan to relieve your pain and repair your jaw joint.