What are TMJ Disorders?
TMJ Disorders involve a variety of problems associated with the jaw joint and the surrounding muscles. “T.M.J.” stands for temporo (temporal bone) – mandibular (lower jaw) joint. The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is a complex joint which permits a rotating and sliding mechanism for you to not only open your mouth, but to move it forward and from side to side. Bones, muscles, ligaments, and a disk made of cartilage are all components of the joint which work together to allow for smooth opening and closing movements of the jaw.
What are Symptoms of TMJ Disorders?
Symptoms of TMJ Disorders include jaw joint pain, clicking, limitation of mouth opening, jaw locking, sore jaw or neck muscles, and headaches. Habits such as clenching or grinding may also contribute to jaw pain and/or headaches.
How are TMJ Disorders Treated?
Minor TMJ symptoms may be controlled through changes in diet (softer foods), warm/cold compresses, and medications such as Tylenol, aspirin or Ibuprofen (NSAIDS).
More severe TMJ symptoms usually require placement of an upper or lower splint – an acrylic appliance worn inside the mouth. Dr. Musgrave can decide which type of splint would best suit your particular needs. As its name suggests, a splint may help relieve pain by repositioning the jaw into a more favorable position relative to the TMJ.
Oftentimes, however, the second phase of treatment is needed to stabilize the bite in order to decrease or eliminate the need for continued splint wear. This second phase of treatment is referred to as “definitive treatment”. It may involve “equilibrating”, which consists of mild tooth re-shaping to eliminate premature contacts of teeth; or orthodontic treatment, which actually re-positions the teeth. Each procedure can help promote three-dimensional balance and harmony between the teeth and the temporomandibular joints. Full mouth reconstruction, with the placement of crowns on all of the teeth, is not recommended unless one has a mutilated dentition (set of teeth).
In rare instances, a splint may not adequately relieve symptoms. These cases usually require a surgical treatment, but only as a last resort.
For Relieving TMJ Symptoms