TMJ is the joint that connects the lower and upper jaws. The term TMJ stands for Temporo-mandibular Joint. The actual problem is called TMD (Temporo-Mandibular Disorder). TMJ is one of the most complex joints in the entire body, capable of forward and backward movement, rotations, and side-to-side movements. TMD often refers to complications and problems with this joint.
Some of the most common symptoms of TMD are:
- Pain in and around the joint area
- Headache or migraines
- Limited movement of the lower jaw, commonly inability to open your mouth wide enough to bite on food.
- Clicking, popping, crating and grinding sounds when you move your lower jaw.
- Muscle spasms
- Earache/ Tinnitus
- Locking of the jaw: the jaw locks open and you can not close, or vise versa.
Some of the causes of TMD are:
Misaligned teeth, worn out or missing teeth, clenching or grinding of the teeth, impacted wisdom teeth, trauma and whiplash, arthritis, muscle hyperactivity, genetics, hormones, low-level infections, and auto-immune disease to mention a few. Thorough TMJ examination which includes X-rays or CT scan of the joint, study of the patient’s bite on specialized devices to simulate the different movements of the jaw are necessary to arrive at the proper diagnosis.
Treatment of TMD:
The treatment should be based on the correct diagnosis. The treatment may include orthodontics, replacement of the missing teeth, restoring the existing worn out or broken teeth, adjustments of the chewing surfaces of teeth, jaw splints and in some cases surgery.
If you experience any TMJ problems or symptoms, call our office at (831)442-0620 and Dr. Malek will be happy to evaluate your condition and recommend the best treatment possible for you.