What You Need To Know...
The term TMJ is an acronym for “temporomandibular joint.” This is the joint that is used to open and close the jaw. TMD, or “temporomandibular disorder” refers to the dysfunction that can occur to the TMJ joint. Problems can occur in the TMJ due to misaligned teeth, excess muscle tension, or trauma. The bones are surrounded by five different muscles and cartilage which can result in a number of issues.
Common TMJ symptoms:
- Chronic headaches
- Pain in the jaw area
- Popping and clicking of the jaw while eating
- Soreness or trouble in opening and closing the mouth
- Soreness in the area or extending to other areas of the face
There are dental treatments that can be performed to help reduce problems related to the temporomandibular joint. Replacing missing teeth, using orthodontics to realign the dental arch, and adjusting the bite may be methods of addressing TMJ problems. However, there is no “one size fits all” solution for everyone. Some patients may benefit from the use of a plastic mouthpiece or mouth guard that can reduce grinding and clenching of the teeth. TMJ, left untreated, can reach the point where surgery is necessary to repair a jaw joint that has become severely damaged over time.