What is TMJ?
TMJ is an abbreviation for the temporomandibular joint. It is the joint where the jaw intersects with the skull. This dysfunction of this joint can cause numerous painful problems. The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates that 10 million Americans suffer from some degree of TMJ problems.
What Causes TMJ Dysfunction?
TMJ dysfunction can occur when the joint is irritated by physical stress, trauma, a misaligned bite, or even emotional trauma. Most of these irritations result in clenching the teeth or grinding the teeth. Over time, the accumulated pain and pressure produces other symptoms.
What Might Indicate TMJ Problems?
TMJ problems can be identified by some of the following symptoms:
- Any type of headache, but especially chronic migraine headaches
- Chronic earaches
- Teeth grinding (also known as bruxism)
- An inability to completely open or close your mouth
- A jaw that pops or clicks when you open it
- Tingling in the fingers
- Unexplained pain in the face, neck, shoulder, jaw, or lower back
Dr. Oser and his staff will conduct a thorough examination of your teeth, jaw, and bite in order to diagnose the source of your TMJ problems. Most of the patients who suffer from TMJ disorders are able to find relief with an oral appliance. This thin, comfortable mouth guard will reposition your jaw to ease the stressed joint and encourage proper alignment. The resulting realignment can reduce headaches and other common TMJ symptoms.
There are other TMJ treatments available for certain scenarios. This treatment can include stress management advice, lifestyle adjustments, and building up the surface of the back teeth to correct the misalignment of your bite.