TMJ stands for temporal-mandibular joint.
Temporal, as in temple area of skull; mandibular as in mandible, or lower jaw; joint as in it’s where the head and jaw meet. Problems in this joint may be caused by a misalignment of the teeth, trauma, or excess muscle tension.
Aside from the two bones that meet there, cartilage buffers them and five muscles are involved in the area. If something goes wrong a good deal of trouble can result.
Problems in this area can cause:
- Trouble/soreness in opening and closing the mouth
- Clicking or popping of the jaw
- Pain in the jaw muscles
- Soreness in the area, sometimes extending to the face
Dental treatments for the condition can include replacing missing teeth, moving teeth, adjusting the bite, filling gaps between teeth, etc. There is no one solution that is right for all cases. Sometimes a plastic mouthpiece is used to prevent clenching or grinding that is contributing to the problem. If untreated and taken to extremes, surgery may be required to repair a badly damaged joint.
Causes of TMD
During stressful times, many people develop the habit of clenching and grinding their teeth. Others clench and grind in their sleep, while driving, or while concentrating on a project or task.
This can cause severe damage and pain to the temporomandibular joint or TMJ. TMJ pain may also be caused by an uneven bite (occlusion), or trauma.
Symptoms include: Headaches, tooth fractures, tooth mobility, clicking and popping of the joint, trismus (lockjaw), and pain.
Treatment at Las Vegas Preferred Family Dentistry
Dr. Salmeh Jafarifar would be happy to discuss them with you.
Occlusal Guards: Occlusal guards reduce the chance of damaging the muscles, teeth, and joints by re-aligning the jaw to prevent clenching and grinding. They are a very conservative treatment.
Occlusal or night guards are available over the counter, but custom guards made from dental impressions are normally more comfortable and functional. They may be worn whenever needed (overnight and or during the day). Occlusal guards are very successful in treating TMJ disorders.
Occlusal Adjustments: Dr. J can make minor adjustments to the teeth and existing restorations to create a more evenly distributed bite. Dental hand pieces and burs are used to gently polish the teeth until the desired occlusion is achieved.
Orthodontics: In severe cases, orthodontic treatment may be recommended to reposition teeth and restore proper bite function.
Our Las Vegas dentist will do a thorough examination to determine the cause of your TMJ pain. She will explain in detail the many options available to treat TMD. Dr. Jafarifar will listen to your concerns and will provide satisfying answers to your questions. TMJ pain should not be ignored. Permanent damage and the need for surgery may result if left untreated.