What is TMJ? TMJ means temporomandibular joint and problems related to this joint are sometimes referred to as temporomandibular dysfunction (or TMD). The temporal bone is above and in front of your ear. The mandible is your lower jaw. You can feel the joint that opens and closes your jaw in front of your ear.
If you are suffering from persistent headaches, especially upon waking, you may have TMJ/TMD. Temporomandibular joint disorder refers to a group of disorders that affect the joint that connects the lower jaw to the skull (temporomandibular joint, or TMJ).
What are the symptoms of TMJ?
- Neck and shoulder pain
- Pain when opening or closing mouth
- Trouble chewing
- Jaw becoming stuck open or shut
- Headaches or ear pain
- Clicking or popping sounds when opening your mouth
- Teeth Grinding
- Sensitive teeth
What are the causes of TMJ pain?
They include stress, grinding or clenching the teeth, misalignment of the teeth and/or jaws, loss of bite height, trauma from sports or whiplash, arthritis, as well as many others.
What is the treatment for TMJ pain?
Treatment depends on the severity of the problem and the cause. Most treatment starts with some type of orthotic, occlusal guard, mouth guard, or other device to reduce clenching and control stress. All appliances are not equal. A neuromuscular orthotic made to physiologic rest position is most effective. An NTI tension suppression system appliance can give quick relief in certain cases. Treatment might also include orthodontic (braces), crowns and bridges, or implants to restore a collapse bite or lost tooth structure, and occlusal equilibration (bite adjustment) to remove interferences in the bite. Stress reduction, biofeedback, physical therapy and behavioral therapy all have a role to play in more severe cases. Surgery is indicated among a small number of cases.
If you suspect you may have TMD come in for a consultation. We can help diagnose you and provide relief for your symptoms. Pain relievers and hot/cold compresses are short term methods to provide relief for pain symptoms. A night guard can be used to help prevent or lessen the effects of teeth grinding at night. This can lead to a more permanent solution and behavioral treatments to change the way you use your jaw muscles may provide relief.