About 25 percent of the American population suffers from Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMD), and many of them are not formally diagnosed. In the United States, dentists and physicians share the patient load for TMD. Despite the high prevalence, there are no diagnostic standards. Nevertheless, medical practitioners can diagnose Temporomandibular problems quite accurately.
The Range and Variety of TMD Symptoms
The main symptom of TMJ disorder is pain around the area of the joint with the movement of the jaw. The pain may radiate to other parts of the face. The pain may resolve immediately, or persist and become a chronic condition. Some people experience a period of remission even without medical intervention.
The reason for the range of symptoms is poorly understood mostly because the etiology or causes of the problem are not definitely known. What the medical community is sure about is that there are multiple factors involved. It is also known that TMD is associated with other conditions, including local trauma, bruxism, jaw clenching, arthritis, and joint hypermobility. There is also ample evidence that localized problems are mostly due to mechanical derangement of the disc within the joint itself.
Diagnosing Temporomandibular Joint Disorder
Before a doctor or dentist can prescribe therapy for TMJ, people reporting symptoms must undergo certain tests. A physical exam is one of the key components of the medical exam. A doctor or dentist can give a diagnosis of TMD with physical findings. Usually, there’s no need for additional tests. A physical examination will reveal pain and tenderness in front of the ear, where the joint is located, along with the limited jaw movement. Some people experience locking of the jaw, which tells the doctor the articular cartilage may be displaced.
Medical assessment of temporomandibular joint problems is necessary for a definitive diagnosis, says TMJ & Sleep Therapy Centre of Northern Indiana. The choice of treatment depends on the symptoms that manifest, along with how long you have been suffering. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms enumerated above, do not hesitate to set an appointment with a local dentist or physician.