Temporomandibular joint disorders are a group of conditions that impact the muscles in the face and the jaw, according to WebMD. TMJ disorders can cause pain and impact a person's ability to chew and talk.
Dentists do not know the specific cause of TMJ disorders. It is believed that the disorders can result from injury to the jaw and muscles in the head and neck. They might also result from arthritis, stress and grinding the teeth. The most prominent symptom of TMJ disorders is pain. Other symptoms include difficulty opening the mouth, popping noises from the jaw, trouble eating, swelling and an overall feeling of tiredness in the face.
The symptoms of TMJ disorders often mimic those of other conditions. To diagnose the disorder, a dentist will rely on X-rays, magnetic resonance imaging or a CT scan. Treatment of the disorder depends largely on the cause of it. Medications are usually prescribed in the beginning to control the symptoms. Pain relievers, muscle relaxants and tricyclic antidepressants can also lead to pain relief. Therapies, such as the use of bite guards and physical therapy, might also be tried. If the problems persist, surgical procedures might provide relief. The surgery can help correct a structural problem if it is suspected of causing the disorder.