Temporomandibular joint disorder, or TMJ, is an often painful condition affecting the joint at which the upper and lower jaw meet. Patients suffering from TMJ may experience a wide range of apparently unrelated symptoms, but after diagnosis and treatment, most sufferers find that their pain is dramatically reduced.
Know the Signs of TMJ Dysfunction
TMJ is an umbrella term for a wide range of neuromuscular disorders that affect the temporomandibular joint. Often related to problems with a patient’s bite, TMJ disorders can cause a diverse set of symptoms that present in both the jaw itself and more systemically.
Some of the most common TMJ symptoms include:
- Popping noises when opening and shutting your mouth
- Pain and swelling in and around the temporomandibular joint
- Difficulty opening and closing your mouth
- Difficulty chewing
- Frequent headaches
- Neck, back, and shoulder pain
The TMJ joint is a complex one that includes bi-directional movement (hinge plus sliding) that is aided by cartilage and a small disk. TMJ can result from problems with any of these elements, which in turn are damaged by improper bite mechanics.
Relieving TMJ Pain
Your treatment for TMJ usually starts with a diagnosis using one of our cutting-edge technologies, including transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) and K7. These diagnostic tools help us determine your jaw’s natural neutral position so that we can look for the bite-related causes of your pain.
Many TMJ patients benefit from wearing an orthotic device, either all day or just at night. Such devices help encourage your jaw to remain in its most natural position, reducing your TMJ symptoms. Patients who also grind or clench their teeth may wear a customized night guard to prevent damage while you sleep.
Some patients may also benefit from certain dental restorations, including bridges, fillings, crowns, or dental implants to restore your bite to a more natural configuration.
TMJ is a serious condition, but with the right approach, you can get your life back. Please contact the neuromuscular dentists at Cosmetic & Esthetic Dentistry today at 781-396-8558 to arrange a TMJ consultation. We are pleased to serve patients in Cambridge and throughout the greater Boston area.