What Does TMJ Mean?
The temporomandibular joint is known as the TMJ. This is the joint where your jaw intersects with your skull. When this joint is not functioning smoothly, a number of serious conditions can develop. It is estimated by the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research that as many as 10 million Americans may suffer from TMJ problems to some degree.
What Causes TMJ Disorders?
The disfunction of the TMJ can be caused when the joint is annoyed by trauma, misaligned bite, physical stress, or even emotional stress. The most common result from these various stresses is the clenching or grinding of teeth. The accumulated pain can eventually produce a variety of other symptoms.
What Symptoms Indicate TMJ Problems?
Any one of the following symptoms may indicate a TMJ problem:
- Headaches of any kind, and especially chronically occurring migraines
- Chronically occurring earaches
- Bruxism (more commonly known as teeth grinding)
- The inability to open or close your mouth completely
- A popping or clicking noise each time you open your jaw
- A tingling in your fingers
- Pain in the face, neck, shoulder, lower back, or jaw that is unexplained
What Might Indicate TMJ Problems?
TMJ problems can be identified by some of the following symptoms:
- Any type of headache, but especially chronic migraine headaches
- Chronic earaches
- Teeth grinding (also known as bruxism)
- An inability to completely open or close your mouth
- A jaw that pops or clicks when you open it
- Tingling in the fingers
- Unexplained pain in the face, neck, shoulder, jaw, or lower back
Dr. Dempsey and his staff can perform a thorough examination of your jaw, teeth, and bite in order to locate the source of your TMJ issues. The majority of patients with TMJ issues can find relief with simple oral appliances. These are thin, comfortable mouth guards that will reposition your jaw and ease the stress on your TMJ so that the alignment of the joins is correct. The proper realignment of your jaw can quickly reduce the headaches and other symptoms that come with TMJ issues.
There are additional TMJ treatments for a variety of scenarios. These treatments can include lifestyle adjustments, stress management advice, or even building up the surface of your back teeth with the goal of correcting the misalignment of your bite.