accessibility ACCESSIBILITY

TMJ and Facial Pain Management

TMJ and Facial Pain Management

What is TMJ disorder?

The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) connects the lower jaw to the rest of the skull is one of the most complex joints in the human body. However, because the joint is so complex, if problems begin to develop with a TMJ it can cause a variety of symptoms. In fact, patients that have a TMJ disorder often have a difficult time getting a proper diagnosis because many of the symptoms may seem to have little to do with the jaw itself and medical doctors who are not use to dealing with complex dental issues may not recognize the symptoms.

Some symptoms of TMJ disorder are clicking and popping sounds when opening or closing the mouth, earaches, ringing or buzzing in the ears, persistent headaches, dizziness, jaw weakness or pain when chewing, grinding of the teeth, and stiffness or pain in the face, neck, shoulders. Also, the jaw can lock in the open position and sufferers experience the inability to open the mouth completely.

TMJ treatment

TMJ disorder can have a number of causes including jaw misalignment, unbalanced muscles, trauma to the jaw or head/neck areas from whiplash or similar injuries, and missing teeth. TMJ treatment can vary according to each particular case.

The initial step is a thorough examination and evaluation of the range of jaw motion, digital xrays, and a occclusal or bite evaluation. Once a proper diagnosis is made, treatment can be had to alleviate the problem. This treatment can involve several phases including restoring a normal range of motion to the jaw, and relieve muscle spasms. This can be done and the bite stabilized with a custom fitted bite splint, which is a removable appliance that fits over the teeth, also, some bite correction to eliminate discrepancies.  As a new quick method to eliminate pain, the use of Botox to relax the muscles of the face and eliminate spasms. Other patients may require more detailed extensive correction through treatments such as a full mouth reconstruction.

 What causes TMJ pain?

Each patient's case is different. so the source of TMJ pain is not always the same. To better understand where the pain comes from, it is important to understand how the joint works. The TM joint is located along the jaw and can be felt by placing a finder in front of the ear and opening the mouth. A small disc located between the lower jaw and the temporal bone should be able to absorb shock to the joint when chewing. Patients experience pain when the jaw muscles become strained or in a spasm, and the disc does not function properly. Usual causes of this pain are trauma, missing teeth, clenching or grinding of teeth.  

Testimonials

View More