The temporomandibular joint, or TMJ, are the joints located on each side of the head where the skull and lower jaw meet. It is the most constantly used joint in our body, allowing us to open and close our mouth, speak and chew.
Any problem that prevents TMJ to work properly may result in TMJ disorders. Oftentimes, TMJ disorders have long-term symptoms that can affect a patient’s quality of life.
Possible causes of TMJ disorders include arthritis, injuries, displacement of the disc located between the jawbone and the socket, stress and teeth grinding (bruxism).
Symptoms of TMJ Disorders
Difficulty in opening and closing the mouth
Pain in the jaw and cheekbones
Pain when eating
Earaches or ringing in the ears
Clicking sounds when opening and closing the mouth
Changes in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
Discomfort in your neck and shoulders
Problems when moving the jaw side to side or forward
Pain when touching the TMJ area or jaw muscles
Treatments of TMJ Disorders
Diagnosing TMJ disorders can be complex and may require different procedures. Depending on the diagnosis, your dentist may recommend stress management, bite plate or splint therapy or short-term non-steroidal anti- inflammatory drugs to relieve the pain and to relax the muscles.
If these are unsuccessful, your dentist may refer you to a dental specialist or an Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeon for other treatment options. A surgical approach may include arthroscopy, arthrocentesis or joint reconstruction.