Jaw joint pain (TMJ)
TMJ is an abbreviation for the Temporomandibular joint which is a hinge joint that connects the lower jaw (mandible) to the temporal bone of the skull, located in front of the ear on each side of the head.
When your temporomandibular joints (TMJ) are in a comfortable relaxed position, your muscles are relaxed, and all of your teeth should touch simultaneously. This harmony allows the joints, muscles and teeth to be protected during the chewing function. When you bite down firmly from this relaxed position, there should be no “shifting” of either the jaw or individual teeth. If there is an incorrect bite, undue stress can be introduced to the temporomandibular joints, the teeth and muscles. The muscles work extra hard for the jaw to find an “accommodation” position and can become tense and painful. This can lead to many of the previously listed symptoms which is why early detection and treatment are so important.
Causes may include:
- occlusal disease – occlusal disease (also know as malocclusion) is a misaligned bite that, if undetected and untreated, can damage your teeth, the supporting bone and gums surrounding the teeth, the temporomandibular joints (TMJ’s) and the muscles of the head and neck.
Occlusal disease is often overlooked, and is often dismissed as natural aging or wearing of the teeth. In reality, occlusal disease is an unbalanced bite that at best can wear and damage your teeth and at worst, contribute to eventual tooth lose and/or debilitation temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD).
Other causes include:
- injury to the jaw joint
- injury to the muscles of the head or neck
- osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis in the Temporomandibular joint
People who suffer from symptoms of TMD may experience varing levels of pain and discomfort which can be temporary or last a lifetime.
Common symptoms include:
- headaches and migranes
- ear aches
- ringing in the ears
- jaw soreness or pain
- painful facial or neck muscles
- upper back or shoulder pain
- clenching of the teeth
- grinding of the teeth
- worn, chipped, cracked or broken teeth and dental work
- limited ability to open the mouth wide
- getting stuck or locking in the open or closed mouth position
- difficulty or pain while chewing
- clicking, popping, or grating of the jaw joint
- loose teeth or receding gum and bone
- shifting bite
As a trained Bioesthetic dentist, Dr. Basil will diagnose the underlying causes of TMD, and set up a treatment plan to restore harmony to the chewing system by correcting the causes of tooth wear, joint imbalance and muscle pain, rather that just treating the symptoms.