TMJ (temporomandibular joint) disorders are a family of problems related to your complex jaw joint. If you have had symptoms like pain or a “clicking” sound, you’ll be glad to know that these problems are more easily diagnosed and treated than they were in the past. Since some types of TM problems can lead to more serious conditions, early detection and treatment are important. No one treatment can resolve TM disorders completely and treatment takes time to be effective.
TM disorders develop for many reasons. You might clench or grind your teeth, tightening your jaw muscles and stressing your TM joint. Or, you may have a damaged jaw joint due to injury or disease. Whatever the cause, the results may include a misaligned bite, pain, clicking or grating noises when you open your mouth, or trouble opening your mouth wide.
- Are you aware of grinding or clenching your teeth?
- Do you wake up with sore, stiff muscles around your jaws?
- Do you have frequent headaches or neck aches?
- Does the pain get worse when you clench your teeth?
- Does stress make your clenching and pain worse?
- Does your jaw click, pop, grate, catch, or lock when you open your mouth?
- Is it difficult or painful to open your mouth, eat or yawn?
- Have you ever injured your neck, head or jaws?
- Have you had problems (such as arthritis) with other joints?
- Do you have teeth that no longer touch when you bite?
- Do your teeth meet differently from time to time?
- Is it hard to use your front teeth to bite or tear food?
- Are your teeth sensitive, loose, broken or worn?
The more times you answered “yes,” the more likely it is that you may have a TM disorder. Not all facial pain problems are TMJ problems. Atypical facial neuralgias and clinical depression, as well as dental and TM pain can contribute to generalized or specific facial pain. It is often important to receive input from a variety of dental and medical specialists in an effort to pinpoint specific causes of facial pain.
There are various treatment options that we can utilize to improve the harmony and function of your jaw. Once an evaluation confirms a diagnosis of Temporomandibular disorder, we will be able to determine the most appropriate course of treatment. It is important to note that treatment always works best with a team approach of self-care (home therapy) as well as professional care. It is important to note that treatment always works best with a team approach of self-care as well as professional care.