THE TMJ (JAW JOINT)
The TMJ is the bony joint that supports the jaw. There is one TMJ located just in front of each ear. This joint functions differently than other joints in the body. The movement of other joints is guided by the shapes of the bones that make up the joint. Part of the movement of the jaw joint is guided by "the bite" (the upper and lower teeth moving against each other).
A balance exists between the movement caused by the teeth and the movement the joint can tolerate. This balance can be upset by excessive teeth grinding or clenching (often unconsciously or during sleep), an increase in irregularity in the bite (a common occurrence after a tooth or teeth are removed and not replaced) or a decrease in how much irregularity the joint can tolerate. Treating and preventing problems associated with the TMJ involve re-establishing the bite/jaw joint balance and eliminating symptoms.
Symptoms of TMJ problems can include sore jaw muscles, difficulty opening or closing the mouth, pain in the teeth, excessive wearing down of the teeth, headaches, and others. Some possible treatments that your dentist may recommend include appliances to stop you from grinding your teeth or change the position in which it takes place, exercises, and medications. Jaw problems are just one of many conditions that cause pain or other problems n the head, neck, and mouth area. Treatment may also involve referral to one or more other health care processionals.
At your convenience, let’s meet and discuss the health of your TMJ.