One of the body's most complex joints is the TMJ, which is a jaw hinge that connects to the temporal bone of the skull. In this post, our Toronto dentists share the causes, symptoms, and treatment options of TMJ disorder.
What is TMJ Disorder?
The TMJ is an important hinge of the jaw that allows you to eat, speak, yawn, and more.
Temporomandibular joint disorders (TMD) happen when there is an issue with your jaw and facial muscles. You begin to experience pain in the area and if the disorder progresses to a severe state, the joint may eventually be unable to move.
Types of TMJ Disorder
There are actually three main types of TMJ disorders:
Joint Degenerative Disorders
Most commonly known as osteoarthritis, this joint degenerative disorder happens when cartilage holding the round ends of the two bones in your jaw together breaks or wears away.
Cartilage absorbs shocks during movement, and allows your bones to glide easily over each other. When the cartilage erodes, pain and swelling will occur, and you may not be able to move your jaw.
Also referred to as myofascial pain, muscle disorders involve pain and discomfort in all the muscles controlling the function of your jaw. You may also experience pain in your jaw muscles, shoulders and neck.
Joint Derangement Disorders
A soft, small disc located between the temporal bone and the condyle makes the opening and closing of the jaw smooth and easy. This disc is also important as it absorbs shocks to the jaw joint that happen during movement.
Joint derangement disorder occurs when a disc or hinge of the jaw is misaligned with the rest of the skull and jaw, therefore being in improper place.
This displaced disc causes internal derangement of the temporomandibular joint. Currently, there is no surgical solution to this problem.
Symptoms of TMJ Disorder
If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms of TMJ disorder, contact our Toronto dentists right away!
- Facial bruising or swelling
- Problems opening, closing or clenching your jaw
- Headaches, dizziness or pain in your temples
- Grinding, clicking or popping sounds when you open your jaw
- Additional pain in your neck and/or shoulders
When You Should See a Dentist for TMJ Treatment
At-home remedies might not always be enough to help you with the symptoms and misalignment of TMJ disorder.
Your dentist will review your dental history, perform a thorough examination of your bite and jaw, and take x-rays to assess before providing an official diagnosis of TMJ Disorder. The treatment he or she recommends may include:
- Oral Surgery
- Dental splints
- Prescription medications
- TMJ therapy
- Physical Therapy