In a condition commonly referred to as TMJ, a patient may experience an array of unpleasant symptoms. In reality, TMJ is the term for the temporomandibular joints, which are located at each side of the jaw, where this bone meets the skull. It is through the TMJs that we are able to speak, chew, and perform pivoting, sliding movement with the jaw. In some, these joints become irritated and compromised, called temporomandibular disorder, or TMD, which will remain or possibly worsen until treatment is received.
The exact symptoms that accompany TMD can vary from person to person, as no two of us are exactly alike. There are some general symptoms that tend to occur, such as:
- Discomfort when chewing
- Teeth become worn down
- Teeth loosen in the absence of gum disease
- The jaw pops or clicks
- Neck pain
- Jaw pain
- Facial pain
- Changes in bite
- Difficulty in chewing, or discomfort when doing so
The persistent tensions in the muscles that operate the jaw are often related to excessive tooth grinding or clenching of the jaw, which may stem from stress. Because we tend to clench or grind our teeth while we sleep, curbing the habit can be a challenge. In our dental practice, relief can be found in a treatment that will alleviate muscle tension and protect teeth from excessive wear.
Treatment is provided in the form of a comfortable oral appliance that is worn during sleep. This splint keeps the back teeth slightly apart, which prevents clenching and allows the muscles to remain in a more relaxed state. Botox injections can also be an adjunctive treatment in severe cases and a referral to a specialist can be made.
TMD may occur for a number of reasons. A misaligned bite, or habits like biting on hard objects or even excessive gum chewing may instigate irritation of the joints at the back of the jaw. Regardless of cause, this is a very treatable condition.
To relieve pain and restore full function from TMD, contact us for your consultation with Dr. Titania.