The Temporomandibular Joint is the flexible hinge joint located between the back of the jawbone and the skull. The joint attaches right in front of the ear, which is very sensitive. The TMJ is designed for maximum flexibility, allowing the jaw to move easily up and down as well as side to side. This extended movement makes the TMJ prone to issues.
Temporomandibular disorder is most common in young adults between 20 and 40 years old. Women are also more likely to suffer from TMD. It can cause a wide range of symptoms, some lasting for a short time or others may trouble patients for years.
Common symptoms include: a tender feeling in the jaw and nearby muscles in the neck and face; clicking in the joint; discomfort or pain when chewing; ringing in the ears; tooth or a headache; and in certain cases the jaw may stick open or closed.
TMD can be caused by trauma or injury to the jaw, or surrounding muscle groups in the face, neck, and shoulders. Direct impact or sudden jerks, such as whiplash, can also contribute. Other causes may include grinding or clenching of the teeth (sometimes due to stress), a dislocation of the soft cushion inside the joint, or rheumatoid or osteoarthritis in the temporomandibular joint itself.
Treatments for TMJ
Treatments can range from a simple night guard appliance to protect the teeth and realign the jaw, to open jaw surgery. In most cases, dental work, medication for pain or stress, and other simple remedies can help reduce symptoms.
We will work with you to find what is causing problems to find the best treatment for your case. Our goal is always to get our patients back to as normal a life as possible, as quickly and comfortably as possible. While issues with TMD can be stressful, they are not unmanageable and we will explore a full range of options to get you back to your normal self.