The Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is a small joint located in front of the ears and responsible for the opening and closing of the mouth. The term TMJ is also used as an acronym for temporomandibular joint disorder which is when the jaw joints fail to fit together properly, causing bite imbalances.
TMJ is often the result of injury or stress to the temporomandibular joint and can be the result of an automobile accident or other accidents that cause physical trauma, teeth grinding, poor posture, stress or arthritis.
Common symptoms of TMJ include:
- Frequent headaches upon waking
- Neck, face and shoulder tension
- Popping and clicking sounds when opening and closing the jaw
- Locked jaw or lack of range of motion in the jaw
- Chronic earaches
- Teeth grinding that often causes excessive wear
There are several different ways in which a dentist treats TMJ, but all treatment begins with a thorough oral examination to both diagnose the problem and determine the extent of existing damage. Once this evaluation is complete, the Oso Marguerite Dental team in Mission Viejo will discuss options with you which may include:
Bite Correction Therapy
Occlusal equilibration or bite correct therapy is a gentle procedure that helps to realign the bite so the upper and lower jaw connect more evenly. This therapy is typically completed in three sessions. During each session, your dentist will precisely reshape the biting surface of the teeth to alter how they come in contact with each other. Altering how teeth touch often reduces the amount of force placed on the jaw when biting or chewing, and this has a positive impact on the TMJ joint.
If the teeth are misaligned and causing stress on the jaw and TMJ joint, sometimes, orthodontics are a viable solution to correct the problem. The Oso Marguerite team in Mission Viejo uses both Invisalign and splints, and the preferred method is determined after a thorough examination and consultation. Orthodontics often provide long term stability to the jaw and can be used in conjunction with other treatment options to obtain more permanent positive results.
When TMJ causes significant damage to the teeth due to grinding or excessive wear, restorative dentistry is often used to improve the bite, oral health and a more brilliant smile. Restorative dentistry options preferred by the Oso Marguerite Dental team often include crowns, porcelain veneers or cosmetic bonding. The best method varies by individual patient and is impacted by the health of the teeth, overall health of the patient and goals of the patient. The Oso Marguerite Dental team always makes the most appropriate and least invasive recommendations possible and discusses them candidly with the patient in an effort to ensure their comfort throughout any procedures and satisfaction with the outcomes.
For anyone suffering from the debilitating pain of TMJ, we invite you to come see us at Oso Marguerite Dental. Call our office and schedule your consultation today.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is there a cure for TMJ?
There is no immediate or permanent cure for TMJ. However, treatment management with the professional assistance of Oso Marguerite Dental helps patients to relieve pain and continue to enjoy a high quality life.
How do I know if I have TMJ?
TMJ typically presents with several symptoms. Some of them include headaches, pain around the jaw joints, discomfort in the temporal area of the forehead, shoulder pain and neck stiffness, earaches and ringing in the ears. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, especially over a prolonged period of time, contact Oso Marguerite Dental for a consultation.
Will TMJ just go away on its own for some people?
No, TMJ never goes away on its own. The symptoms typically will not subside, and in most cases, they will get worse over time without treatment.
What is the best way to determine if I have TMJ and what my treatment options are?
If you suspect you have TMJ, the best way to know for sure and discover your treatment options is by contacting Oso Marguerite Dental. Schedule an appointment in our office for an evaluation and the opportunity to ask questions and find the answers you are searching for.