Do I have TMJ? by Dr. Kathryn Jones

08/09/2019

We all have TMJ! Everyone has two temporomandibular joints (called TMJ) on each side of the head. They act like a sliding hinge, connecting the jawbone to the skull and make it possible to open and close the mouth, and work together when chewing, speaking, and swallowing. They also control the lower jaw (mandible) and its movement forward, backward and side to side.
TMJ Pain or Disorder is pain in your jaw joint and the muscles and ligaments that control jaw movement. The muscles of the TMJ run along your jaw and cheeks, and sometimes these muscles can cause pain in other areas surrounding the TMJ.

TMJ disfunction


TMJ Cause is often hard to determine.
Causes include genetics, injury to the jaw, arthritis, grinding the teeth, or a combination of factors. In most cases, TMJ pain or disorder can be relieved nonsurgical with self-managed care. According to the American Dental Association, 10 – 15% of people clench and grind their teeth. Clenching and grinding are sometimes caused by stress and happen during sleep without being aware of it. Also, abnormal bite alignment, the way your upper and lower teeth meet, can put more force on one side than the other resulting in painful symptoms.

Symptoms:
1. Pain in jaw
2. Aching pain around the ear
3. Difficulty chewing food and opening/closing mouth
4. Headaches
5. Dislocation
6. Arthritis

TMJ disorders can cause a clicking or popping sound when opening the mouth and is often a component of sleep apnea.

Possible Treatments:
After diagnosis, a dentist might fabricate an occlusal guard or splint (plastic bite guard) to protect teeth and the joints. This will prevent further surface damage to the teeth, lessen gum problems, and release muscle tension. They are usually made from vinyl resin made from acetate, rubber, acrylic, or vinyl. If you suspect there is a TMJ problem, please schedule an appointment and we’ll find the source of and work with you to find a solution and relief. Dr. Jones has been specially trained in TMJ treatment and diagnosis and can help you find relief.

Depending on the diagnosis, your dentist my refer you to a physician or specialist.