Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJ or TMD)
The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is the area directly in front of the ear on either side of the head where the upper jaw and lower jaw meet. Within the TMJ, there are many complex moving parts including muscles, tendons, and bones that allow the lower jaw to close on the top jaw, letting you bite, chew, and talk.
TMJ disorder (or TMD) happens when there is a complex problem with the smooth workings of the muscles and joints that control your jaw. This can lead to a multitude of problems including stiffness, headaches, ear pain, and more.
TMD/TMJ Causes and Symptoms
The following are common behaviours of TMJ disorder:
- Bruxism, or repetitive and unconscious teeth clenching and teeth grinding. It can occur both day and night, and you are usually totally unaware of the fact that you are doing it. Many patients awaken in the morning with jaw or ear pain.
- Dental problems such as misalignment of the teeth, and uncomfortable bite.
- Trauma to the jaw such as previous fractures/injuries or whiplash.
- Stress. It is very common for people under stress to release nervous energy by grinding and clenching their teeth. Fatigue, poor posture (such as those stuck on a computer all day), and even lack of adequate exercise also contribute to high stress levels.
If you experience chronic headaches and pain in your jaw, shoulders, and neck, there is a good chance you may have TMJ disorder.
Luckily, TMJ symptoms can be treated at our dental office. Our dentist will start by inspecting your jaw and bite, making sure that your muscles and joints align the way they should. If necessary, a custom-made, perfectly fitted night guard is made for you to wear at night. For complex cases, collaborative treatment with local physiotherapists and facial pain specialists may be sought.
Contact Us Today If You Suspect You are Suffering from TMJ Disorder
If you are experiencing TMJ symptoms, or are looking for relief from bruxism, contact us today to discuss your options.