TMJ Treatment

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Normal TMJ Function

The Temporal Mandibular Joints (TMJ) are located just in front of the ear, where the lower jaw articulates with the skull. These joints allow the hinged movement of the jaw.  Problems can occur to the TMJ due to injury, arthritis or habits such as grinding the teeth while sleeping.

TMJ Disorders may produce the following symptoms:

  • Ear Pain
  • Ear Ringing 
  • Headaches
  • Clicking or Popping Noises (while eating)
  • Pain (with opening or closing the mouth)
  • Limited movement of the jaw
  • Lock Jaw

It has been estimated that 50 million people in North America suffer from one or more of these symptoms.  Sometimes, the problems can be so debilitating that they adversely affect a patient's ability to work and their relationships.  Often these symptoms are generated by the TMJ, an incorrect bite, spasms in facial/neck muscles, or a combination of these problems.  Our office believes that it is necessary to find and treat the causes of the symptoms rather than only give temporary relief with medications.   Our focus is to address the TMJ factors relating to the pain by restoring proper function to the patient's bite and jaw relations.

The necessary course of treatment is dependent on the specific case and severity of the damage to the joint.  Special imaging techniques are needed to properly diagnose a TMJ issue and treatment plan accordingly.  Oftentimes, an oral appliance is an effective way to prevent additional damage to the joint and reduce daily symptoms, but more serious cases may require advanced orthodontics and restorative dentistry to establish a better occlusion (bite) for the patient.  In some extreme cases, surgery to the joint may be recommended.

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