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TMJ

Do you suffer from headaches? Tension in your neck and shoulders? Clicking noises when you open your mouth or tenderness in your jaw? These common symptoms can often be resolved with dental treatment.

To open and close your mouth, you use two joints and several muscles. They operate as a team to give you the ability to chew, speak and swallow. In addition, your lower jaw (mandible) has two joints, called the TMJ’s- temporomandibular joints.

The muscles that help the TM joints open and close the mouth control the mandible in moving forward, backward and side-to-side. Each joint has a disc between the sockets (ball and socket type function). As with any normal ball and socket joint, the disc cushions impact, enabling your jaw to open and perform various different movements. As soon as something stops the smooth running of the muscles, discs and bones, a painful TMJ disorder can occur.

Symptoms of TMJ are: -

Pain and dysfunction that can radiate throughout the entire body

Multiple headaches, usually at the temples and side of head

Pain in the face, sinuses, ears, eyes, teeth, neck muscles and back

Neck and back cramps

Sensitive teeth

Clicking and grating in the jaw joints

Inability to open or close the mouth freely

Difficulty in chewing and swallowing are also often evident

Excessive tooth wear

A pattern of breaking or cracking teeth with no other cause

Trauma

If you suffer from any of these symptoms, don’t worry - help is at hand from Totally Teeth.

There can be several reasons why people suffer from TMJ disorders, arthritis, dislocation and often an injury. Stress has also been offered as a cause, along with more dental related issues such as your bite not fitting together correctly.

CAUSES OF TMJ

Trauma - Acute trauma to the jaws such as a car accident, a fall or a punch can cause damage to the muscles and/or joint. The pain and loss of function is usually responsive to conservative treatment. Sometimes trauma to the joint can cause chronic damage, which may contribute to a TMJ problem at a later time.

Clenching or Grinding - Some do this while awake but more often, it is done during sleep. Most people grind their teeth while sleeping to some degree. For whatever reason, some people do this to the point where they wear the enamel from their teeth. This constant pressure also can damage the TMJ’s over time.

Malocclusion - This term means "bad bite". When teeth do not bite together in harmony with the shape and position of the joints, it can place pressure on the joints. Missing teeth may contribute to this as well. The misalignment can put strain on the jaw muscles, which can be mild to severe. Although the bite is an important part of the whole system, it is only altered through conservative measures, and only if it is felt improvement will result. Treatment of the bite for TMJ disorder is usually not needed but its contribution to the whole must be examined.

Emotion - Emotional stress often plays an integral role in the development of TMJ. This occurs due to two basic reasons. Stress increases both the severity and duration of clenching or grinding while asleep. Many will also subconsciously clench or grind their teeth more while awake during times of stress. Additionally, during times of stress your adaptability and pain threshold will go down. As a result, you are more likely to experience symptoms of TMJ if other factors already exist. Emotional conditions can contribute to TMJ as well. Depression, anxiety disorders, and the like can often contribute to TMJ problems arising.

Posture & Poise - Your job and how you sit and work on a regular basis can contribute to TMJ and related problems. If you work at a computer all day, for example, you may be holding your head in such a way that places strain on your TMJ system.

To resolve any TMJ disorder, the severity must be assessed. This is achieved by examinations and x-rays to give your Totally Teeth dentist a clear understanding of what may have caused the problem and therefore the extent of the treatment required. During this check, your dentist my take impressions of your teeth to check your bite pattern, this may eliminate one problem that could be causing the discomfort. Your complete medical history will also be reviewed to take into account your background and any current illnesses that can be linked to TMJ disorders.

From this, we will be able to develop a treatment plan that is individual to your needs and help resolve your pain and discomfort.