The temporomandibular joints are the 2 joints that connect the lower jaw to the skull and are located in front of each ear. It is the junction of the mandible (lower jaw) and temporal bones (lateral base of the skull).

Temporomandibular disorder 

The temporomandibular joints are the 2 joints that connect the lower jaw to the skull and are located in front of each ear. It is the junction of the mandible (lower jaw) and temporal bones (lateral base of the skull). It is a complex joint structure that allows the mandible bone to move up and down, left and right, and front and back. It makes movements such as chewing, speaking, yawning and swallowing. If the structures connecting the bones and bones are not aligned or do not move properly, temporomandibular disorder is mentioned.

What is temporomandibular disorder? 

It is a disease that affects jaw movement, in which the jaw muscles, temporomandibular joint structures and facial nerves are prevented from moving in harmony. It’s usually not serious and gets better on its own.

Temporomandibular disorder can take various forms. Sometimes several of these shapes can coexist. Types of temporomandibular disorders include:

  • Myofascial pain: Discomfort or pain in the connective tissue covering the muscles and in the muscles that control the function of the jaw, neck, and shoulders. It is the most common form of temporomandibular disorder.
  • Internal disorder of the joint: Dislocation of the joint, displacement of the cartilage pad between the head of the jawbone and the skull, injury of the rounded end of the jawbone that articulates with the temporal skull bone.
  • Degenerative joint disease: Osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis in the jaw joint.

What are the causes of temporomandibular disorder? 

Temporomandibular disorder causes can be:

  • Teeth grinding (bruxism) (habitual, involuntary clenching and grinding of the teeth),
  • Excessive tension in the jaw joints and the muscle group that controls chewing, swallowing and speech can be the result of teeth grinding.
  • Arthritis and displacement of jaw joint discs,
  • Wear and tear of the joint,
  • Trauma to the jaw, head or neck
  • Stress
  • An irregular bite
  • Another painful medical condition, such as fibromyalgia or irritable bowel syndrome.

What are the symptoms of temporomandibular disorder? 

Temporomandibular disorder symptoms may include:

  • Headache,
  • Dizziness,
  • Discomfort or pain in the jaw, mostly seen in the mornings and afternoons, increasing in chewing and stress situations,
  • Pain radiating to the back of the eyes, face, shoulder, neck and/or back,
  • Tinnitus,
  • Jaw locking,
  • Clicking, popping, or grinding sounds in jaw movements
  • Limitation of mouth movements
  • Teeth clenching or grinding,
  • Tooth sensitivity,
  • Numbness or tingling sensation in the fingers,
  • Change in the way the upper and lower teeth fit together,
  • Sleeping disorders.

 What are the home remedies for temporomandibular disorder symptoms? 

To reduce your jaw pain:

  • Eat soft foods such as soup, pasta, omelet,
  • Use painkillers (paracetamol or ibuprofen),
  • Apply ice to your chin for no more than five minutes or a heat compress (hot water bottle wrapped in a towel) for no more than 15-20 minutes a day,
  • Massage sore jaw muscles
  • Avoid hard foods
  • Do not chew gum
  • Do not bite food with your front teeth,
  • Do not yawn too wide
  • Don’t bite your nails
  • Don’t grind your teeth
  • Do not rest your chin on your hand.

When should I go to the dentist? 

In cases of suspected temporomandibular disorder, consult a dentist without delay. The diagnosis of the disease can only be made by examination and X-ray findings.

If you have the following conditions, it is useful to consult an emergency dentist.

  • If your eating and drinking function is impaired,
  • If the pain seriously affects your daily life,
  • If the pain seriously disrupts your sleep patterns,
  • If the pain does not go away, it is getting worse.

What does the dentist do to treat temporomandibular disorder? 

The dentist diagnoses temporomandibular disease based on examination and x-ray findings. If necessary, he gets help from other medical branches. For your stress and anxiety, the psychologist can seek help from a physiotherapist for jaw joint exercises and massage.

After diagnosis, treatment is planned according to your complaints, underlying disease, age, and general health status.

In simple cases, he may recommend mild or strong painkillers to reduce your pain, relaxation techniques to reduce stress, and methods for sleep problems. Dietary changes for temporomandibular joint rest, behavioral changes to reduce tooth clenching, posture training, and physical therapy can be tried as other methods. Ice and hot compresses can be applied to the jaw joint. Mouth guards may be given to reduce teeth grinding.

In advanced joint disorders, surgery can be planned together with the relevant specialties as a last option.