Temporomandibular Joint Disorder, or TMJ for short…
“It’s also used to describe the disorder, which is basically an inflammation of the jaw joints due to excessive wear on that joint, from chewing and use of the jaw overtime,” explained Dr. Elliot Hardy, an ear, nose and throat doctor at the Baton Rouge Clinic. “It’s more seen in the adult population, and literature has shown that females are a little bit more symptomatic than males, as far as feeling pain from it and feeling the popping and clicking that sometimes goes along with it.”
What are the symptoms?
“The main thing that we see actually, as ENT’s, is people coming in with ear pain. So, they don’t necessarily come in saying my jaw hurts, but they’ll say ‘I have a pain deep in my ears.’ Sometimes it’s just one-sided, and I know a lot of times it is because one jaw joint can become more inflamed than the other, but ear pain is definitely one, popping and clicking with chewing. Just soreness of the jaw and of the teeth are the typical symptoms,” said Dr. Hardy.
How is it treated?
“What I’ll do is have people follow a soft diet. So, the things that can worsen the symptoms are repetitive chewing movements. If a patient is a big gum chewer, I’ll say you’ll have to cut that out. So, I’ll put them on a soft diet for about 5 days, so that they aren’t chewing anything. So they are allowing that jaw joint to really rest,” explained Dr. Hardy. “I’ll do some warm compresses to the area while they’re at home because that heat helps to decrease the inflammation, and then also high-dose ibuprofen.”
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