The temporomandibular joint is the joint that connects the lower jaw to the skull. It is a complex joint that hinges and slides so that you can talk, bite and chew. Its muscles, discs, cartilage and other individual components all work together to make these movements smooth and comfortable, but when anything goes wrong, you can develop pain and dysfunction, or a condition known as TMJ. Our office offers diagnosis and treatments for people experiencing problems with their jaw joint.
Periodic jaw pain can occur with any overuse, such as extreme gum chewing, but some people develop chronic or cyclical pain and dysfunction, which can lead to long-term problems. Treatment is needed to address the source of the temporomandibular joint disorder, restore proper jaw function and alleviate the painful symptoms. Although there is no single cause of TMJ, several things can contribute to the problem, including:
- A displaced disc
- Jaw dislocation
- Condyle injury
- Myofascial or muscle pain
- Degenerative or inflammatory joint disorders
A history of bruxism or malocclusion can also lead to dysfunction. At your evaluation, we will take X-rays, perform a physical exam and determine the best treatment approach for your needs.
Symptoms of TMJ can vary widely and may be hard to pinpoint. They often mimic other problems, such as headaches, earaches or neck aches. You might experience facial pain, jaw tenderness, discomfort, pain and difficulty using the jaw joint. Some people struggle with a jaw that locks in an open or shut position. Temporomandibular joint disorders often co-occur with other health issues, such as fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, certain sleep disorders and rheumatoid arthritis. We encourage you to call and schedule your appointment as soon as possible so that we can help you start on the road to recovery.
Conservative treatments are remarkably effective for many patients. These can include rest, physical therapy, stress reduction techniques, injections and medications. Our dental team will work with you to find the most appropriate treatment protocol to address your symptoms and improve your jaw function. In some cases, surgery can be needed.
If you think you have TMJ, give us a call. We offer compassionate care and can help you get the relief you need.