Temporomandibular Joint Disorder or TMJ Syndrome, is an all encompassing term covering acute or chronic inflammation of the temporomandibular joint. The temporomandibular joint connects the lower jaw to the skull. The disorder and subsequent condition can result in significant pain, discomfort, dysfunction and impairment. The temporomandibular joint is just as susceptible to many of the conditions that affect other joints in the body, including arthritis, trauma, dislocations and other developmental abnormalities.
Affecting the muscles are pain and dysfunction. Dysfunction refers to the limitation of jaw movement. This dysfunction can range from mild to severe. In milder cases, the only symptoms may be popping or clicking of the jaw. Common causes include: gum chewing, nail biting, teeth grinding or teeth clenching. Often times this dysfunction creates a misalignment of the teeth, causing them to be out of occlusion.
Do you have trouble with your jaw?
TMJ disorders develop for a variety of reasons. You may clench or grind your teeth, or tighten your jaw muscles and therefore stress your TMJ joint. You may have a damaged jaw joint, due to injury or disease. Whatever the cause, the results may include a misaligned bite, pain, clicking or grating noises when you open your mouth, or may it may cause you to have trouble opening your mouth wide.
Important Questions to Ask Yourself:
Are you aware of grinding or clenching your teeth?
Do you wake up with sore, stiff muscles around your jaw?
Do you have frequent headaches or neck aches?
Does the pain get worse when you clench your teeth?
Does stress make your clenching and pain worse?
Does your jaw click, pop, grate, catch, or lock when you open your mouth?
Is it difficult or painful to open your mouth, eat or yawn?
Have you ever injured your neck, head or jaw?
Have you had problems (such as arthritis) with other joints?
Do you have teeth that no longer touch when you bite?
Do your teeth meet differently from time to time?
Is it hard to use your front teeth to bite or tear food?
Are your teeth sensitive, loose, broken or worn?
The more times you answered "yes," the more likely it is that you have a TMJ disorder. There are various treatment options that can be utilized to improve the harmony and function of your jaw. Once an evaluation confirms a diagnosis of TMJ disorder, we will determine the proper course of treatment. No one treatment has been shown to resolve TMJ disorders completely, and treatments take time to be effective.