The “Temporomandibular Joint,” more commonly referred to as the TMJ, assists in the basic opening and closing movements of the jaw. The TMJ is considered the most complex joint in the body since both right and left TMJ’s must work in unison and neither can work independently of the position of the teeth. Therefore this joint and the surrounding tissues are frequently the source of pain in the joint and the teeth muscles controlling jaw movements are not working in harmony. This disharmony is referred to as TMD which means Temporamandibular Disorder. This Disorder is frequently associated with bruxism (clenching and grinding of the teeth) and can be manifested by one or multiple signs and symptoms including severely worn or loose teeth, sore teeth, clicking or popping in the joints, pressure in the ears and even bouts of dizziness. Unfortunately because TMJ and jaw muscle pain is so severe and diffuse, TMD is often confused with other disorders including migraines, sinus problems, and ear infections. In order to establish a correct diagnosis a thorough examination must be made of the teeth, the bite relationship and the functioning TMJ.
- Panorex xray and bite wing xrays to facilitate exam of the teeth
- TMJ xray to check for joint pathology
- Doppler exam of the TMJ to check for joint sounds that may indicate presence of pathology.
Fortunately most TMJ/TMD treatment is non-invasive in nature, and is performed right in our office, eliminating the necessity of an inconvenient referral to a specialist. If you feel you may be having a TMJ problem, please call our office for more information.