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Temporomandibular Joint Syndrome (TMJ) (cont.)

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What are the signs and symptoms of TMJ syndrome?

The main symptom of TMJ syndrome is pain in the jaw joint. This joint is located just in front of the ear and pain associated with TMJ syndrome may involve the face, eye, forehead, ear, or neck. Signs and symptoms of TMJ syndrome include:

  • Pain in the jaw, especially at the area of the joint
  • Popping/clicking of the jaw
  • Ear pain
  • Ringing or popping sounds in the ears
  • Headaches
  • Blurred vision
  • Tight or sore jaw or neck muscles
  • Shoulder pain
  • Locking or dislocation of the jaw (usually after widely yawning)

How is TMJ syndrome diagnosed?

Your doctor will diagnose TMJ syndrome by taking your medical history and doing a physical exam to find the cause of your symptoms. There is no specific test to diagnose TMJ syndrome. Your doctor may send you to an oral and maxillofacial specialist, an otolaryngologist (also called an ear, nose, and throat doctor or ENT specialist), or a dentist specializing in jaw disorders to confirm your diagnosis. Sometimes an MRI of the temporomandibular joint may be ordered to detect damage to the cartilage of the jaw joint and to rule out other medical problems.

What is the treatment for TMJ syndrome?

Many symptoms of TMJ syndrome can respond well to home remedies or stress reduction and relaxation techniques. You may find relief with the following home remedies:

  • Ice or cold packs to the area of the joint
  • Over-the-counter (OTC) nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), or naproxen (Aleve)
  • Eating soft foods and avoiding chewing gum
  • Massage or gentle self-stretching of the jaw and neck muscles (your doctor or physical therapist can recommend appropriate stretches)
  • Relaxation techniques and stress reduction

When home remedies are not effective, medical treatment options may be necessary. These include:

  • Dental splint (occlusal splint or stabilization splint or bite guard), which is a dental appliance placed in the mouth that keeps the teeth in alignment and prevents tooth grinding. This is usually prescribed and fitted by your jaw specialist.
  • Botox may be used to relax the muscles of the jaw. However, this is not currently an FDA-approved treatment for TMJ syndrome.
  • In severe cases, surgery on the jaw or dental surgery may be necessary.
  • Prescription-strength pain medicines, muscle relaxers, or anti-inflammatory medications may be necessary.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 1/14/2014

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TMJ - Symptoms Question: Besides pain, what TMJ symptoms do you experience?
TMJ - Treatment Question: What treatment have you had for TMJ?
TMJ - Exercises Question: Have you tried exercises or other self-care measures to prevent TMJ symptoms?
TMJ - Pain Question: What kind of activities exacerbate your TMJ pain?
TMJ - Causes Question: What causes your TMJ symptoms?
Source: MedicineNet.com
http://www.medicinenet.com/temporomandibular_joint_syndrome_tmj/article.htm

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