Why TMJ Affects Older People: Symptoms and Best Treatment

Are you experiencing severe headaches or jaw pain? If your answer is yes, then you may have a TMD.

Temporomandibular joint popularly known as a TMJ is essential for jaw movement. It allows your mouth to move in different angles, especially when you are chewing and helps a person to speak efficiently. However, as we age, the joints in the jaws stop working properly, resulting in a painful condition known as TMJ disorder or temporomandibular disorder (TMD).

According to research from the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, most older adults have a TMJ disorder. The same study shows that TMJ degeneration affects more women than men and peaks after childbearing age between 45 and 64 years.

The exact cause in adults is still unknown, which makes it challenging to get a specific treatment for TMJ. However, this disorder which can be considered a byproduct of aging can be more prevalent to specific dynamics as we age, which includes:

  • Jaw, head, or neck injury.
  • Cartilage damage.
  • Experiencing muscle spasms in the head, jaw, or neck, which results in jaw clenching and teeth grinding.
  • The onset of different types of arthritis, like osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Research study shows a correlation between TMJ symptoms and various dental problems like:

  • Poor oral health,
  • Bite conditions,
  • Missing teeth
  • Bruxism.

When experiencing such symptoms, people can first turn to read an online research essay based on a TMJ topic to better understand the issue before actually seeing a medical practitioner.

The pain or discomfort which is related to TMD, can be relieved with preventative dentistry, which ranges from dental cleanings to getting custom made mouth guards. When the discomfort becomes unbearable, and other procedures have failed, surgery will be recommended for individuals with TMJ disorders as it can work to boost your dental wellness.

How Can You Tell if You Have TMJ?

When experiencing discomfort linked with the temporomandibular joint, then there is a high chance that you have TMD. Seek treatment when you have frequent neck aches, headaches, pain in the jaw area and nearby locations. Clicking jaw noises, facial soreness, and decreased jaw movement as well as discomfort, especially when speaking or chewing are some of the common signs of TMD.

What Kind of Doctor Do I See for TMJ Pain?

When you find it hard to open and close your mouth with ease, or you are experiencing continuous pain in your jaw for a couple of days, then seek medical help.

A dentist can help ease the pain when you have signs such as jaws that feel stuck, toothaches, or any other dental-related issue. However, the only way to be sure that TMJ treatment is for you is when you are examined and diagnosed by a certified prosthodontist.

A board-certified prosthodontist will pinpoint the underlying cause and provide immediate and effective treatment options. A prosthodontist will give you a dedicated type of care as they use their expertise and advanced technology to treat complex dental conditions as well as severe TMJ disorders.

Which is The Best Treatment for TMJ Disorder?

It is not easy to diagnose TMD. However, there are several ways of treating TMJ disorders depending on the symptoms you currently have and a diagnosis from a dentist. A combination of physical and oral examination can work to evaluate whether your symptoms are due to TMJ disorder.

Treatment can range from injections, non-invasive therapy, oral appliances, medications, surgery, or dental splints. Furthermore, X-rays, CT scans, and head or neck evaluation can further help to diagnose the underlying problem.

After an expert has concluded that your symptoms are due to TMD, they will then recommend the right treatment. You also need to remember that there is no one size fits all treatment. Instead, when seeking treatment go for professionals who rather than just managing your symptoms, they will treat the cause of TMD and relieve you of the pain once and for all.

What Happens When TMJ is Left Untreated?

Just like any other medical condition, when TMJ is left untreated, the symptoms may become more severe and disruptive to your daily life. When you fail to seek treatment, you are likely to get more serious issues such as chronic jaw pains, migraines, tooth loss, muscle inflammation and severe ear pain.

As we age, the risk of TMJ or TMD tends to increase. In some cases, the discomfort will self-heal. Whenever you experience throbbing jaw or mouth-related pain, then get immediate treatment which can be simple and noninvasive.