Questions about TMJ Disorder

Poway and Rancho Bernardo, CA

What is TMJ disorder?

TMJ disorder is when the jaw joint, known as the temporomandibular joint, is misaligned, which results in debilitating, often chronic pain. The good news is TMJ disorder can be managed, relieving or reducing your pain, which is the key focus of neuromuscular dentistry. With effective treatment, neuromuscular therapy will help realign your jaw, allowing for a proper bite and resting position.

What causes TMJ disorder?

Various factors can contribute to the development of TMD, including a bad bite, a bite misalignment, problems with dental arch development, narrow arches, airway issues such as mouth breathing and nasal obstruction, grinding of the teeth either during the day or while you sleep, dislocation of the jaw joint, arthritis in the jaw joint; or stress, which cause clenching of the teeth or tightening of the facial and jaw muscles. It may also be caused by an injury such as a blow or impact to the surrounding muscles of the head and neck, resulting in misalignment of the temporomandibular joint.

What are the symptoms of TMJ disorder?

When suffering from TMD, a patient may experience one or multiple symptoms including; pain of the jaw, face, neck or shoulder, click or popping sounds of the jaw when chewing or moving the jaw, lockjaw or a limited range of motion, an uneven bite, chewing difficulties, headaches, or tinnitus (ringing sounds in the ear).

How is TMJ disorder diagnosed?

TMJ disorder is most often diagnosed by examination of the jaw joint. The examination will help determine any pain or tenderness, your dentist will listen for any sounds such as popping or clicking noises as your open and close your mouth, your bite will be examined, and your range of motion in your jaw will be considered. At time, x-rays can be helpful in determining a better view of the jaw and teeth to narrow down the cause of your pain. In some cases, an MRI or CT scan may be needed in special cases.

How do you treat TMJ disorder?

Treatment is patient specific and will depend on the condition of your TMJ disorder. The first step in any treatment plan is to try to alleviate pain, and then begin working to correct the ultimate cause of your TMJ disorder. Some potential treatments are medications, appliances that are custom made, orthodontics, dental restorations, or custom made orthotic mouth pieces.

Do You Think You May Have TMD?

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