TMJ, or the temporomandibular joint, connects the mandible ( lower jaw) to the temporal bone of the skull, just in front of the ear on each side of the head.
A disc shaped cartilage cushion sits in between the lower jaw and the skull creating separation and allowing the necessary movement and functions when talking, chewing, swallowing, and yawning.
Surrounding the jaw joint are several muscle and ligaments that are attached to the bone and disc that controls the position and movement of the jaw.
TMD, or Temporomandibular disorders (or dysfunctions), is the name given to the conditions that affects the joint in a negative way. TMD usually occurs when there is misalignment or damage to the muscle, ligaments, bones and disc that surrounds the TMJ.
1.Malocclusion. Misalignment or an incorrect relationship between the teeth of the upper and lower jaw can create excessive pressure of the ligaments and muscles of the TMJ and therefore cause damage.
2.Bruxism. Excessive grinding and clenching occurs mainly at night time during sleep but can also occurs during daytime as well. These actions place excessive pressure on the T.M. Joint, surrounding muscles, and ligaments, and lead to TMD.
3.Displaced/ Damaged Disc. A displaced or damaged disc can cause painful clicking or popping sounds and limit jaw opening. A damaged disc can cause pain, noises, and limit function as the jaw bone directly grinds against the skull bone.
4.Trauma. Whether it is a sports injury, slip and fall, or motor vehicle accident trauma to the TMJ, it can lead to TMD. It can result in jaw displacement and malocclusion which can cause muscle damage and displacement. It can even initiate clenching/grinding habits or exacerbate pre existing ones.
Pain is the primary symptom that initiates people to seek treatment. There are various types of pain associated with TMD which includes: headaches, earaches, pain in the joints, teeth, face, shoulder, and/or neck.
Other symptoms of TMD are: limited mouth opening, locked jaw, clicking, popping sounds, difficulty chewing, and ringing in the ear.
In most cases, a conservative treatment approach is sufficient such as a fabrication of a custom fit intraoral orthotic appliance. Also, occlusal adjustments and equilibration as well as ultrasound, laser treatment and moist heat application. In more severe cases, a second phase therapy may be necessary such as orthodontic treatment, permanent adjustment of the teeth, and/or surgery.
Although we often do orthodontic treatment to create beautiful smiles, we also apply orthodontics to realign teeth that have been displaced or shifted due not a traumatic event. In addition, we are able to use orthodontic treatment to restore the bite that has been altered due to TMJ injury.
Dental implants are titanium posts (like a tooth root) that is surgically placed into the jawbone beneath the gum line. It provides a permanent base for a fixed replacement tooth. So if you are congenitally missing a tooth or lost a tooth due to a traumatic injury, we are fully capable of replacing your missing tooth.
Feel free to email us regarding any scheduling or general questions!