Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ) also known as Neuromuscular Disease and a few other terms, are disorders that affect the jaw and the muscles that control jaw movement. TMJ can cause dysfunction of the jaw joints that can be quite painful, and is sometimes accompanied by headaches, neck pain and even back pain. Current estimates are that over 10 million Americans are afflicted with TMJ disorders, and it appears to be more common in women than in men.
What is the Temporomandibular Joint?
A joint is like a hinge that connects one bone to another to allow movement. The temporomandibular joint connects the lower jaw bone, known as the mandible, to a bone at the side of the head called the temporal bone, and it is one of the more complicated joints in the human body. The joints are flexible, allowing for smooth movement of the jaw both up and down and from side to side for the purpose of eating, talking and yawning. The position and movement of the jaw is controlled by the muscles that surround and attach to the jaw joint. You can feel these joints by placing your fingers just in from of your ears and open and close your mouth.
What Causes TMJ Disorders?
TMJ can be caused by the disk eroding or moving out of its proper alignment in the jaw, by joint cartilage that has been damaged by arthritis, or from damage caused by a blow or other impact to the jaw. However, in many cases, the actual cause of TMJ cannot be definitively determined.
Pain in the joints or muscles of the jaw does not usually indicate a serious problem. The discomfort often occurs in cycles and is usually temporary. For many people the pain eventually goes away with little or no treatment being necessary. For some people, however, more long-term symptoms occur, and are more significant. In these more serious cases, a dental specialist should be consulted.
Treatments for TMJ Disorders
Basically, there are two kinds of treatments for this kind of problem. Conservative treatments are those which are not invasive or irreversible, and are meant to relieve the pain and discomfort of the symptoms. A pain medication may be prescribed, relaxation techniques may be practiced, and sometimes stabilization splints may be used. These treatment methods are not cures for TMJ, and are intended only as temporary measures. However, If symptoms continue, reoccur often or worsen over time, more permanent measures may be considered, such as surgery or veneers.You need to consult a TMJ specialist in order to find the best treatment option for you.
If you suspect you may have a TMJ or neuromuscular disorder of the jaw, and you live in the valley, we highly recommend the services of Valley dental office a well-known specialist in the treatment of these disorders. We will evaluate your situation, and will work closely with you to find the least invasive and most effective treatment for the relief of your pain and discomfort.
We will employ various safe and comfortable techniques to determine the muscle position that is best for you, help determine how your particular version of TMJ came to be, and how to best relieve your pain and discomfort. We take the time to help you get through this process so you can get back to living a normal life.