Will TMJ disorder resolve on its own?

TMJ RichmondThe jaw, also known as the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), consists of a number of structures, including bones, muscles and tendons, that must work together precisely to facilitate the many types of movements that your jaw may make. When even one of those components is off-kilter, you can develop a painful TMJ disorder that can cause jaw pain, as well as facial, neck or ear pain, as well as abnormal popping, clicking or locking of the jaw. Most cases of TMJ have a specific cause and are unlikely to resolve on their own without treatment.

If you are experiencing TMJ symptoms, your dentist likely will refer you to an oral surgeon for an evaluation that can indicate the best course of treatment. These specialists have in-depth knowledge of the structures that comprise the jaw and are well-positioned to identify the specific issue that is contributing to your case of TMJ disorder. At this first appointment, you should expect to undergo a visual examination of your jaw as well as having x-rays taken. The surgeon will use information obtained at this evaluation to determine your treatment plan.

Although an oral surgeon can evaluate patients for TMJ disorders, the recommended intervention may not necessarily be an invasive one. For example, stress can be a significant contributing factor in cases of TMJ disorder. If this issue appears to be exacerbating your symptoms, you may be referred to a therapist who can teach you stress management techniques. Physical therapy or massage for overworked muscles can also help patients with TMJ disorders.

However, if a structural defect in the jaw seems to be at fault, a surgical approach may be necessary in order to correct that defect and reduce the patient’s discomfort. Many, if not most, of these procedures can be performed in an outpatient setting, though, and there is limited disruption to the patient’s routine.

TMJ symptoms are unlikely to go away on their own, so if you are experiencing jaw pain and other related symptoms, call our office at Commonwealth Oral & Facial Surgery to schedule your initial appointment. We can help to get your jaw working normally again and restore your quality of life.

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