Treatment of TMJ/TMD
TMD (Temporomandibular joint disorders) occur as a result of problems with the jaw, jaw joint and surrounding facial muscles that control chewing and moving the jaw. These disorders are also referred to as TMJ syndrome (TMJ is the hinge joint that connects the lower jaw (mandible) to the temporal bone of the skull, which is immediately in front of the ear on each side of your head. The joints are flexible, allowing the jaw to move smoothly up and down and side to side and enabling you to talk, chew and yawn. Muscles attached to and surrounding the jaw joint control the position and movement of the jaw.
Injury to the jaw, temporomandibular joint or muscles of the head and neck - such as from a heavy blow or whiplash - can cause TMJ disorders. Other possible causes of TMD are:
- Grinding or clenching the teeth, which puts a lot of pressure on the TMJ
- Dislocation of the soft cushion or disc between the ball and socket
- Presence of osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis in the TMJ
- Stress, which can cause a person to tighten facial and jaw muscles or clench the teeth.
- Whiplash injury
Common symptoms of TMJ disorders include:
- Pain or tenderness in the face, jaw joint area, neck and shoulders, and in or around the ear when you chew, speak or open your mouth wide
- Limited ability to open the mouth very wide
- Jaws that get "stuck" or "lock" in the open or closed position
- Clicking, popping or grating sounds in the jaw joint when opening or closing the mouth (which may or may not be accompanied by pain)
- A tired feeling in the face
- Difficulty chewing or a sudden uncomfortable bite, as if the upper and lower teeth are not fitting together properly
- Swelling on the side of the face.
- Headaches, neck aches
- Ear aches, hearing problems and ringing in the ears (tinnitus).
- Upper shoulder pain
If suffer regularly from any of the problems mentioned above, or if you think you may have a problem with your jaw joint, please make an appointment to see us. We will be able to examine your teeth and jaw joint, and suggest ways of improving their functionality. In many cases, treatment can be surprisingly simple, but can have a noticeable effect on your health and well-being.