TMJ Dysfunction

TMJ stands for temporomandibular joint. The TMJ connects the mandible (lower jawbone) to the temporal bone of the skull in front of the ear. Within the joint formed by these two bones, there is a tiny disc of cartilage. The masseter and temporal muscles provide power to the joint, making it one of the most used joints in the body. The temporomandibular joint is responsible for all the movements of the jaw, including chewing, swallowing, breathing, and talking.

 

TMJ DISORDERS

The causes for temporomandibular joint syndrome (TMJ) are the same as for any other joint in the body:

  • Arthritis
  • Cartilage damage
  • Dislocation
  • Injury
  • Tendinitis
  • Muscle Spasm

 All conditions are possible sources of pain and dysfunction.

Symptoms of TMJ Disorder range from:

  • Clicking or popping of the jaw
  • Pain when chewing
  • Headaches, facial pain
  • Migraine Headaches
  • Neck pain and stiffness.
  • Occipital Pain (pain on the back of the head above the neck)
  • Locked jaw (unable to open wide)
  • Dizziness
  • Ear pain or/and congestion
  • Ringing of the ear

Treatment

The treatment options for patients with TMJ syndrome are varied and sometimes controversial. The first area of controversy is whether the condition is medical or dental in nature. In fact it is a medical condition and in most cases is treated by a Dentist that has specialized training to diagnose and treat the problem.

When the patient is experiencing constant pain and the symptoms are not resolve even wearing a night guard, it is advice to seek for a more in depth diagnosis with a Dentist that specializes in treating TMJ and has the right diagnostic tools. The treatment is base on a diagnosis and it varies in each specific case.

Diagnosis

Before prescribing the proper treatment for your particular condition, it might be necessary to perform several diagnostic tests, such as an I-Cat (3-D image scan) of your jaw joint. This provides a clear picture of your own particular TMJ anatomy, and position of the various structures within the jaw joint. Other exams done are the Electromyography (EMG muscle activity exam), JVA( joint vibration analysis), and Jaw Tracker (electrognathography jaw movements). All exams completely pain free.

Patients suffering from head, neck, facial pain or “TMJ” often present challenging cases to manage. In the past, negative or inconclusive findings often led to prolonged drug therapy, a frustrating doctors’ search by the patient, and often an ultimate, incorrect diagnosis of psychosomatic illness.

Today, with Craniomandibular practitioner’s new knowledge and diagnostic tools, we can often identify the condition’s origins. Working together with the physician and other heath care professionals, brings effective “Team Management” for the patient.