what is TMJ?
What is Temporo-Mandibular Disorder (TMD)?
Temporomandibular disorder is commonly known as TMD. This term is used to describe problems related to the function of the joint that joins the upper and lower jawbones — the temporomandibular joint, or TMJ. These joints get a lot of use throughout the day as you speak, chew, swallow, and yawn. Pain in, and around these joints can be unpleasant and may even restrict movement.
A faulty joint
As common wisdom would dictate, pain is our body’s way of communicating that something is wrong. When your jaw hurts, makes odd noises or locks up, you can be assured that something is askew. This pain can radiate from its source into severe headaches, neck pain, back aches and more
Symptoms associated with TMJ disorder include:
- facial/jaw pain
- neck/ shoulder pain
- sensitive teeth
- worn, chipped or cracked teeth
- ringing in the ears
- clicking or popping in the jaw joints
There are many potential causes for TMJ. Grinding one’s teeth, often caused by either stress or jaw misalignment, is one common cause. Other possibilities include a dislocated disk in the jaw joint, arthritis in the jaw joint, previous trauma to the jaw and stress-related clenching.
Is your jaw clicking and popping?
When our car needs new brakes we hear an awful squealing noise. This noise tells us there is a problem we can either address or leave untreated. If we ignore the squealing, however, we can be sure that neither the noise nor the problem will go away. In fact, it will actually worsen into a more expensive and painful automotive problem. The same can be said for the machine that is our body.
We will gather your information by taking a history and by doing a physical examination of your teeth, head, and neck.
This will allow us to tell whether your bite is the cause of, or a major contributing factor to your problem.
If your bite is a probable cause of your condition or pain, we will then identify the jaw position while the jaw muscles are in a relaxed state.
This jaw position and the corresponding new bite is called the neuro-muscular occlusion.
TMJ causes pain
If left untreated, TMJ can cause a wide array of pains and problems. Included in the list are:
- jaw pain that can spread down the neck, arms, and back
- impaired hearing or ringing in the ears
- numbness or tingling that can spread down to the fingertips
- jaw locking
- poor posture
Treat TMD with neuromuscular dentistry
Neuromuscular dentistry looks beyond the hard tissues of your mouth – your teeth – and, instead, assesses them in conjunction with the soft tissues of your mouth and the position of your jaw joint, analyzing the form and function of your entire mouth. Dr. Amy Yoo treats not only your teeth and gums, but your jaw muscles, joints, nerve structure, bones, and blood vessels. That’s because all the parts of your system need to work together for optimal function and comfort.
Dr. Amy Yoo, a Calgary dentist, will work with you to help with your TMD by evaluating your jaw to find its optimal position for better health, comfort and function.
You don’t need to suffer from pain, misalignment and discomfort. The sooner your TMD situation is evaluated and corrective steps taken, the sooner you will turn the table on TMJ pain.