Jaw Joint Disorders - TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint)
Many people experience pain while opening and closing their mouth. This could often be a sign of Temporomandibular Joint Disorder.
What are Temporomandibular Joints? Everyone has two temporomandibular joints which we use to open and close our mouths when eating, speaking, or swallowing. Each TMJ connects the jaw to the skull with a number of muscles and ligaments.
TMD is simply a jaw joint that is not functioning correctly, and thus can cause pain. The jaw joint is a ball and socket. When it is functioning properly, the ball and socket don't actually touch, but are cushioned by a thin disc of cartilage that rides between them.
This disc is typically pulled forward, causing the lower jaw to move back too far, and the top of the lower jaw (the ball) presses on the nerves and blood vessels at the back of the socket, resulting in the pain.
What are the Most Common Symptoms of TMD?
- pain in the following muscle areas: head, face, ear, neck, throat, shoulder and back
- pain behind the eyes
- swelling on the side of the face
- difficulty opening the mouth very wide
- clicking, grinding or popping noises from your jaw become apparent
- headaches, toothaches, neck aches, dizziness, earaches, and hearing problems
- difficulty closing teeth together
How do we diagnose and treat TMD? Request a Dental Appointment or Consultation at Lawrence West Dental, Dr. Babatsikos will provide you with a thorough check up. We will examine your temporomandibular joints for pain and tenderness, and listen and feel for popping or grating during jaw movement. If required, we will take a panoramic x-ray of your jaw. These x-rays allow us to examine your entire jaw to make sure other problems aren't causing the symptoms.
From our thorough diagnosis we will devise a treatment plan that is right for you. We will create a program of therapy that may greatly reduce the stress on the joint while aligning it more accurately and comfortably.