Thursday, February 26, 2015

What is TMJ?

TMJ is an acronym for Temporomandibular joint disorder, and if left untreated can be a very uncomfortable and serious disorder.

What are the symptoms of TMJ?

Also referred to as TMD, this disorder is characterized by the chronic inflammation of the temporomandibular joint, or the joint which connects the jaw to the skull.

This disorder can cause significant pain and discomfort in the face, jaw, and even the neck and shoulders. Other unpleasant symptoms can also result from TMJ/TMD including...

  • headaches
  • bite problems
  • popping sounds when the jaw is in motion
  • difficulty opening the jaw
  • the jaw locking into one position

What causes TMJ?

TMJ can occur due to several issues. Common causes include trauma to the jaw from injury, certain orthodontic procedures, grinding teeth (bruxism) during sleep, excessive gum chewing, stress and anxiety, and arthritis or other inflammatory musculoskeletal disorders. 

How is TMJ treated?

Because TMJ is essentially a bite issue, the disorder is most often treated by a dental professional by using a combination of the following treatments:

  • bite splints
  • bite guards
  • medication
  • restorative dentistry
  • adjustment of the patient's bite to bring it into balance 
If you have any of the symptoms listed above, and are concerned that it could be a TMJ issue, please do not hesitate to contact your dentist. He or she can provide you with a professional assessment, options for treatment and advice on lifestyle changes that can help prevent the issue from recurring in the future. 

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