TMJ is a painful condition that may significantly inhibit one’s ability to chew, bite, and even hear. Many body tissues may be affected by the condition, including muscles, nerves, tendons, ligaments, and teeth. The teeth, particularly, may have a strong affect on the development of the disorder, making TMJ an area of special interest for holistic dentists. This article is a basic overview of the disorder, its symptoms, and treatment options.
Comments by Dr. Ted Herrmann:
Temporomandibular joint disorder, or TMJ, can be an extremely painful condition. TMJ disorder is actually a broad term used to describe several different conditions. Each condition, however, relates to the swelling of the temporomandibular joint. This joint connects the mandible, or jaw, to the skull. The disorder may be characterized by either an acute or chronic inflammation of the joint, resulting in discomfort ranging from mild to severe.
Several factors may contribute to the formation of TMJ. Often times, the temporomandibular joint is strained due to excessive lateral movement. For example, an individual may experience TMJ resulting from experiencing trauma that causes that jaw to slide laterally in an abrupt and forceful manner. Other times, TMJ may develop slowly over time due to a misalignment of teeth.
On the Lookout: TMJ Symptoms
TMJ symptoms come in a variety of forms. Patients with TMJ typically experience some of the following:
– Pain throughout the neck and shoulder area
– Perception of sounds that do not actually exist (Tinnitus)
– Decreased ability to either open or close the jaw
– Migraine headaches, particularly in the early hours of the morning
– Partial or total loss of hearing
– Dull aches and pains in the facial region
– A clicking or popping noise when opening or closing the mouth
– Discomfort while biting or chewing
Dentistry professionals have a long history of helping TMJ patients because of their knowledge of the jaw, teeth, and surrounding connective tissue. At Assure a Smile, patients receive a full TMJ scan as part of a comprehensive holistic dentistry teeth cleaning and consultation.