The term TMJ stands for temporomandibular joint. It's amongst the most complex body joint systems and is responsible for connecting the upper jaw to the lower jaw. TMJs, along with the articular disc between them, allow for the forward, backward, rotation, and side-to-side movements of the lower jaw.
Improper alignment of the muscle and joints involved may cause stress and imbalance often leading to TMJ symptoms called TMJ syndrome or disorder.
Symptoms of TMJ Disorder
Some of the common complains of patients who experience TMJ syndrome are:
- Pain and tenderness of the jaw and face
- Pain on chewing and biting
- Radiating pain that spreads to the temple, ears, or the back of the neck
- Limited movement of the lower jaw and inability to fully open the mouth
- Muscle spasms not limited to the jaw, but also involving neck and shoulders
- Locking of the jaw
- Clicking or popping sound when opening or closing the mouth
Causes of TMJ Disorder
Common causes of TMJ syndrome and associated symptoms are muscle hyper-function and para-functional habit like teeth grinding or bruxism. It's a common habit, especially during the night and can cause damage to the joint and teeth.
Treatment of TMJ Disorder
Oftentimes, some of the most troublesome and complicated chiropractic cases can be solved by simple dental orthopedic treatment.
Mouth Guard or Occlusal Splint
Wearing a custom-fitted occlusal splint or night guard to reduce nighttime teeth clenching and grinding can largely contribute to discourage the habit as well as protect the teeth from wear and fracture.
Bite or Occlusion Adjustment
This involves restorations of the fractured or worn teeth or restorations as well as replacing the missing teeth that have contributed to shift in the bite.
Some extreme cases may require specialty referral or multifaceted treatment approach, which includes restoring inappropriate posterior teeth, subtle bite adjustments, splint therapy, and chiropractic interventions
If you've been suffering from jaw-related pain or have habits of night grinding or clenching, call Bay Hill Dental in Pleasant Hill at (925) 685-9500 to get a TMJ evaluation and consultation.