What Is TMJ?

If you have ever heard of someone referring to TMJ,what he or she are referring to is temporomandibular joint syndrome (aka. TMJ Disorder, TMD, cranio-cervical-mandibular disorder). This is a disorder that affects the muscles, nerves and joints of the head, neck and jaw area and can be caused by an injury to the temporomandibular joint. Most people have probably heard of TMJ but did not know that it was referring to the joint that connects the jawbone to the skull. When this joint is injured the person will experience pain when chewing, he or she will have a clicking and popping of the jawbone, as well as many other symptoms. Dr. Rick Soordhar and Dr. Sunil Vick Soordhar are general dentists who has extensive knowledge and experience in diagnosing and treating TMJ Disorders by examiningyou and letting you know if what you are experiencing is TMJ Disorder.

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What Causes TMJ Syndrome

If you are looking to find out exactly what causes TMJ syndrome you will find that the causes are multi-factorial. What is known is that there are multiple factors that have been found to contribute to TMJ Disorders (ex. TMJ dislocation, muscle pain, muscle tightness, facial pain, neck pain, ear pain, eye pain, tightness of the muscles). Causes of TMJ syndrome may include a misalignment or some sort of trauma to the teeth or jaw, grinding of the teeth, poor posture that leaves the neck and jaw line out of alignment, motor vehicle accident (MVA), arthritis or any other type of inflammatory musculoskeletal disorder. Of course there can be other things that lead to a person developing TMJ this is just a few of the most common factors.

 

What Are The Symptoms Of TMJ Syndrome

When discussing the symptom of TMJ syndrome it has been discovered that there are many symptoms with the most common of them being pain in the jaw joint. This is the joint that is found in front of the ear. However pain can also be included in the face, eye, forehead, ear and neck. As it was said before the pain in the jaw at the area of the joint is the most common symptom of TMJ but there are others such as:

  • Pain in the ear and even sounds of cracking in the ear
  • The ears may have a sense of feeling full or have ringing or popping
  • Headaches
  • Vision that is blurred
  • Neck or jaw muscles that are tight, stiff or sore
  • Pain in the face, cheek or chin as well as numbness or tingling in these areas
  • Pain in the shoulders
  • Lockjaw which is when the jaw locks or dislocates

 

 

Being Diagnosed With TMJ – Choosing a Dentist or Doctor for TMJ Disorder

If you believe that you have TMJ syndrome you should choose a health care provider who has a special interest in TMJ Disorder Treatment. A general dentist or dental specialist who has taken extensive training in TMJ Disorders, Craniofacial Pain and Headaches, can provide your TMJ Disorder diagnosis. The diagnosis is completed by a thorough clinical exam and TMJ imaging (TMJ MRI, TMJ CBCT).

 

Treatments

When it has been discovered that you have TMJ syndrome you may have to undergo medical treatment options. These options can include a dental splint otherwise known as a bite guard, Botox to relax the muscles in the jaw, physical therapy that involve jaw exercises to strengthen the muscles, prescription strength pain medications or muscle relaxers to help with the pain and in some severe cases surgery may be required.

 

TMJ syndrome is not something that you are going to want to wait to see if it goes away on its own. More than likely it will not go away but will get worse as time goes on. The sooner you have it treated the better off you will be.

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