Treatment of TMJ Disorders An Overview
The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) connects the jaw bone to the skull. This delicate joint is essential for chewing and speaking comfortably. Due to its sensitive nature and high concentration of nerve endings, damage of this joint is not uncommon and can lead to painful symptoms. A damaged or misaligned jaw joint is called a Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMD), although it is commonly referred to as “TMJ.”
There is no one cause of TMD, and patients may experience jaw pain for many different reasons. Injury to the joint, stress, or teeth grinding can all contribute to discomfort in the jaw and face. Many patients hold stress in their jaw through clenching or grinding their teeth, also known as bruxism.
Bruxism can damage the jaw joint over time and cause muscle tension causing the joint to become misaligned. The repetitive motion of grinding or clenching can lead to a wide range of painful symptoms and nerve damage.
Early and appropriate diagnosis of the underlying cause of jaw pain is imperative for effective treatment. Left untreated, TMJ disorders can lead to chronic, often debilitating headaches as well as discomfort in the jaw, neck, shoulders and upper back.
How do I know if I have TMD?
Do you wake up with headaches first thing in the morning? Do you feel tension or sharp pain in your jaw joint? Does your jaw crack or pop when it opens or closes?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may be experiencing a TMJ disorder. Notifying your dentist of any chronic pain or discomfort in your face, head or neck is the first step to diagnosis. Early and effective intervention can help you avoid irreversible damage to the jaw joints. Dr. Robinson is a Dawson trained dentist which makes him uniquely familiar with underlying dental problems such as TMJ disorders. He can prescribe individualized treatment for a successful long-term result.