The temporomandibular joint, more commonly referred to simply as TMJ, sits on either side of your face just below your ears. The TMJ is responsible for opening and closing your mouth, as well as for chewing, biting, and speaking. When this joint is overworked it can cause pain and tenderness, popping or clicking noises, headaches, ear aches, and even locking of the jaw. These symptoms are commonly associated with what is known as temporomandibular joint disorder, or simply TMD. Although TMD cannot be cured, there are a variety of treatments available to help manage its symptoms. Because TMD can be a progressive disorder, it is highly important to seek help once you start experiencing symptoms.
Did You Know?
The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) estimates that at least 10 million Americans experience TMD. The NIDCR has also found that TMD is more prevalent in women than it is in men, although both genders can experience it.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Do I need TMJ treatment?
You may need TMJ treatment if you are experiencing any of the following symptoms:
- Jaw pain or tenderness
- Frequent headaches
- Facial, neck, or shoulder pain
- Your jaw gets stuck
- Feeling like your jaw pops in and out of place
- Difficulty opening your mouth wide
- Difficulty or pain while chewing
- Facial swelling
- Tinnitus or ear pain
- Grinding, popping, or crackling sounds when chewing or opening and closing your mouth
Ultimately, only a TMJ dentist or orthodontist can accurately diagnose TMD. To find out if you can benefit from TMJ treatment, schedule a consultation with your Glendale orthodontist today.
What can I expect when visiting Massih Ortho for TMJ treatment?
Your Glendale orthodontist will first need to perform a dental exam before diagnosing you with TMD. She will first ask you about your medical history, current stress levels, and the symptoms you are experiencing. During the exam, she will look at your teeth and bite to determine if there are any dental issues that could be contributing to your symptoms. Possible dental issues that can cause or worsen TMD symptoms include crooked teeth, unevenly sized teeth, oddly shaped teeth, and malocclusion (overbite, underbite, crossbite, & open bite).
Since the majority of TMD symptoms can be alleviated by reducing stress on the joint, your Glendale orthodontist will develop a TMJ treatment plan based on just that. The most common causes of additional strain on the jaw joint include misaligned teeth, malocclusion, and teeth grinding or clenching. Orthodontic treatment is especially effective form of TMJ treatment because it will properly align both the teeth and the bite. This results in a more optimal jaw position that allows the jaw to relax and rest.
In some cases, additional TMJ treatments may be recommended such as a nightguard or Botox injections. A night guard fits over the teeth and prevents teeth grinding and clenching, as well as maintaining proper jaw position. Botox injections are also to relax the muscles associated with TMJ pain. After your orthodontic examination, your Glendale orthodontist will give you a better idea of what TMJ treatments will work best for your symptoms and jaw.