What is TMJ?
Temporomandibular Joint dysfunction is a chronic pain which people get in and around their jaw muscles. Some estimates place it as the third largest health problem in the United States.
The TM joint consists of two bones: the skull and the jawbone. There is a disc between those two bones which acts as a cushion. If that cushion malfunctions or is misaligned in some way, either due to genetics or other causes, pain can result. The pain can be either constant or it can be more pronounced as the mouth opens and closes.
What are the symptoms?
There are many symptoms. Some of the more common ones are headaches, ear ringing, sore teeth, numbness in the arms and hands, and general pain in the face, neck, or shoulders.
TMJ is hard to self-diagnose. If you have symptoms you believe are TMJ related, it’s best to see a dental professional for an accurate diagnosis.
Why would I see a neuromuscular dentist about TMJ?
A neuromuscular dentist understands the symptoms of TMJ, because TMJ is often the result of jaw alignment problems.
Also, a specially trained neuromuscular dentist can determine if TMJ is NOT caused by alignment problems. Sometimes TMJ can have a totally different origin – it can be the result of a neurological condition, or even trauma from an accident. If that’s the case, your doctor will be able to refer you to a more appropriate medical specialist.
In short, a neuromuscular dentist is a good place to start the process of diagnosing TMJ because if the pain is the result of an alignment problem, a neuromuscular dentist can treat it. If the pain is not the result of an alignment problem, a dentist can help you determine where else to go for help.
What is the treatment?
The treatments of TMJ are as varied as the causes. Neuromuscular dental specific treatments can involve something as simple as mouth guards to something as complex as extensive orthodontics. It all depends on the severity of the TMJ. Only a qualified neuromuscular dentist can properly determine the appropriate treatment.
Please contact us today for a consultation. Start feeling relief sooner!