We offer diagnosis and treatment plans for Temporomandibular Disorders.
What is TMJ?
According to the National Institutes of Health, Temporomandibular Disorders refer to a collection of medical conditions affecting the temporomandibular joint and/or the muscles of mastication (chewing muscles), as well as related tissue components. The TMJ's are the two joints that attach the lower jaw to the skull. These joints allow us to perform functions such as opening and closing the mouth, chewing, swallowing, breathing, kissing, talking, etc. Problems that can occur with the temporomandibular joint are arthritis, trauma, tumors, tearing or dislocation of the disc. The TMJ's are able to function and move by means of muscle, tissue and ligaments that are the connecting components between the lower jaw and the skull. There often can be accompanying muscle spasms that effect temporomandibular disorders which often are diagnosed as Fibromyalgia or Myfacial Pain Dysfunction. you may experience joint problems, muscle problems or both.
Symptoms of TMJ Disorder
• Facial Pain
• Jaw joint pain
• Back, neck, cervical pain
• Posture problems (forward head posture)
• Pain in the joint(s) or face when opening or closing the mouth, yawning or chewing
• Headaches (tension type)
• Pain in the muscles surrounding the temporomandibular joints
• Swelling on the side of the face and/or mouth
• A bite that feels uncomfortable
• Tender sensitive teeth
• A limited opening or inability to open the mouth comfortable
• Deviation of the jaw to one side
• The jaw locking open or closed
• Ringing in the ears, ear pain, diminished hearing and/or hyperaccusis
• Sinus like symptoms
• Dizziness or vertigo
• Insomnia (difficulty sleeping)This list of subjective symptoms is by no means exhaustive, but does provide a good idea of the nature of the complaints that are often made by those suffering from TMJ.
Treatment for TMJ
Treatment for TMJ disorders vary, based on your individual diagnosis. Your dentist may recommend a treatment involving a series of phases. This step-by-step plan is in your best interest because only minor corrective treatment may be needed.If pain and other symptoms persist, a more involved treatment may be considered. Although the specific therapy recommended may not be described below, your dentist may consider the following:• Trying to eliminate muscle spasm and pain by applying moist heat or prescribing medication such as muscle relaxants, analgesics or anti-inflammatory drugs.
• Eliminating some of the harmful effects of clenching or grinding of the teeth by wearing a TMJ splint.
• Teaching relaxation techniques to help control muscle tension in the jaw. Your dentist may suggest training or counseling to help eliminate stress, tooth grinding or clenching.
• Finally, when the jaw joints are affected and other treatments have been unsuccessful, jaw joint surgery may be recommended.
Your dentist and other health professionals who provide treatment for TMJ disorders care about your health and comfort. Discuss your concerns openly with them. In many cases the pain, headaches and other symptoms associated with TMJ disorders can be successfully and readily treated.