What is Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Disorder?

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014, 9:20 pm

The Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) is a small joint, located in front of where the skull and the lower jaw connect. This joint enables one to move talk, yawn, and chew food comfortably.

Although many do not realize it, the TMJ is among the most commonly used joints in the entire body!

TMJ can manifest itself in several ways, and is often linked to other conditions. Internal Derangement of the Joint often results in TMJ disorders. This condition occurs when the jaw is dislocated or injured, or the TMJ disc is moved out of place.  Degenerative Joint disease is also linked to TMJ disorders. Degenerative Joint Disease is usually linked to health conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, and osteoarthritis. Finally, Myofascial Pain Disorder, which is when pain or discomfort occurs in the jaw joint or the neck and shoulders, can result in TMJ disorders.

Symptoms associated with TMJ include difficulty chewing food, swelling on one or both sides of the face, chronic facial, neck, or jaw pains, a sudden inability to open up your mouth wide, and an audible “clicking” noise whenever you open your mouth.

There are a number of factors that can contribute to the development of TMJ disorders. Arthritis, misalignment of the upper or lower jaw, traumatic injury to the head or neck, missing teeth and poor oral habits , such as repeatedly grinding or clenching the teeth, have been linked to the development of this joint disorder.

TMJ disorders can range from being mild, or seriously debilitating. It is always important for the patient to undergo an comprehensive examination with a qualified dentist in order to determine if they have the condition. During the initial examination, the dentist will also evaluate your medical history.

The method of treatment used for TMJ will depend on the patient’s specific needs. Some patients may benefit from nonsurgical treatment methods, such as pain medication, stress reduction counseling, or wearing a bite plate. Once nonsurgical treatment methods are no longer enough, surgery may be necessary, especially if it has been determined that there is joint damage. Surgery methods will range from less-invasive surgical treatments such as arthocentesis or arthroscopy, to the more serious procedure, open joint surgery.

 

Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) in Toccoa

If you would like to learn more about TMJ and its treatment, contact us today. Our offices are located in Toccoa, GA, and we can be reached at 706-886-9439. We look forward to hearing from you!

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