TMJ refers to the temporomandibular joint, which is the bone structure, muscles and connective tissues that surround the jaw and control chewing. When patients experience disorders of this joint, they are said to have a temporomandibular joint disorder or TMD. Symptoms of TMD include pain and tenderness near the jaw, locking of the jaw, as well as popping or clicking in the joint when speaking or chewing. There are many ways of treating TMJ disorders, ranging from non-invasive therapy and bite splints to injections or surgery. Left untreated, however, TMJ disorders can lead to headaches, muscle pain, malocclusion and tooth damage from grinding or clenching.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is it possible that I could need treatment for TMJ disorder?
Your orthodontist can diagnose a TMJ disorder, but there are some signs and symptoms that could indicate the need for TMD treatment:
- Your jaws ‘pop’ in and out of place
- Your jaws get stuck in certain positions
- You cannot open your mouth very wide
- You hear grating or popping sounds when chewing your food or speaking
- You have swelling on one or both sides of your face
- You have pain in your face, neck or shoulders when speaking, eating or opening your mouth
- You have chronic headaches or upper shoulder pain
- You frequently experience dizziness
What should I expect during TMJ treatment?
If you are diagnosed with a TMJ disorder, your treatment experience will vary based on your diagnosis. Dr. Massih may attempt to treat your TMJ disorder first using conservative methods like at-home care instructions, pain relievers, and/or low level laser therapy. If you require further treatment, Dr. Massih may recommend a nightguard, splint, and/orBotox injections to relax the muscles. Few people will require surgery for TMJ and it is a last resort treatment option.