TMJ is the acronym for temporomandibular joint, which connects your lower jaw (the mandible) to your skull at the temporal bone. This joint controls many jaw functions, like chewing. If the chewing muscles or the joint itself are causing you pain you may have temporamandibular disorder, or TMD. TMD can be caused by stress, continual clenching of the jaw muscles, or teeth grinding.
Some of the symptoms of TMD are:
Headaches and sore facial and neck muscles
Pain when opening or closing mouth
- Trouble chewing
- Jaw becoming stuck open or shut
- Headaches or ear pain
- Clicking or popping sounds when opening your mouth
- Teeth Grinding
Many of these symptoms can often be associated with other health problems. Teeth grinding is an especially problematic symptom because it can lead to further problems. Prolonged teeth grinding, clenching or bruxism, can cause enamel to wear off teeth, chip teeth and expose dentin. This material is softer than enamel and more susceptible to decay. Sensitivity to hot and cold food or drink may also develop from excessive teeth grinding.
If you suspect you may have TMD, we can help by diagnosing and recommending treatment to provide relief for your symptoms. An orthotic or a guard can often be used to help prevent or lessen the effects of teeth clenching or grinding. This can help prevent further damage. In some cases where TMD treatment has been delayed, surgery might become the treatment of last resort.