WHAT IS TMJ?
The temporomandibular (tem-puh-roe-mun-DIB-u-lur) joint (TMJ) acts like a sliding hinge, connecting your jawbone to your skull. You have one joint on each side of your jaw. TMJ disorders — a type of temporomandibular disorder or TMD — can cause pain in your jaw joint and in the muscles that control jaw movement. TMJ disorders are a family of problems related to your jaw joint. The symptoms of TMJ are debilitating and can greatly interfere with every day life.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF TMJ?
- Signs and symptoms of TMJ disorders may include:
- Pain or tenderness of your jaw
- Pain in one or both of the temporomandibular joints
- Aching pain in and around your ear
- Difficulty chewing or pain while chewing
- Aching facial pain
- Locking of the joint, making it difficult to open or close your mouth
- TMJ disorders can also cause a clicking sound or grating sensation when you open your mouth or chew.
WHAT CAUSES TMJ DISORDER?
The parts of the bones that interact in the joint are covered with cartilage and are separated by a small shock-absorbing disk, which normally keeps the movement smooth. The exact cause of a person's TMJ disorder is often difficult to determine. Your pain may be due to a combination of factors, such as genetics, arthritis or jaw injury. Some people who have jaw pain also tend to clench or grind their teeth, although many people habitually clench or grind their teeth and never develop TMJ disorders.
WHAT TYPE OF TREATMENT DO WE SUGGEST?
In some cases, the symptoms of TMJ disorders may go away without treatment. If your symptoms persist, a possiblesolution is a TMJ orthotic splint. A TMJ splint is a plastic appliance that not only protects your teeth from grinding but also aligns your jaw and consequently relaxes your facial muscles, releases pain, headaches, and opens airways.
A TMJ splint is not a permanent fixture in the mouth. Instead, it helps the jaw joint come into the proper position when you wear it, which is often at nighttime.