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TMJ (Tempro-Mandibular Joint Dysfunction)

Tempro-Mandibular Joint Dysfunction Syndrome (TMD) is a common condition affecting a wide variety of people. TMJ is characterized by severe headaches, jaw pain of varying degrees, grinding teeth, and an intermittent ringing in the ears. The vast majority of TMJ sufferers are unaware that the root cause of these problems is something that can be managed.

The symptoms of TMJ are debilitating and can greatly interfere with every day life. 

Reasons for treating TMJ

TMJ sufferers report that their symptoms generally worsen during periods of prolonged or unexpected stress, and that intense outbreaks of the condition can lead to neck pain.

The most common cause of TMJ is the misalignment of the teeth, often called “bad bite.”  

The grinding teeth symptom is particularly common and usually occurs at night. The grinding will eventually erode the structure of the teeth and lead to much more severe dental problems in the future. 

It is important for anyone experiencing the symptoms of TMJ to visit the dentist or oral surgeon for an exact diagnosis.

What does treating TMJ involve?

TMJ could be a result of several different problems. Usually involves multiple areas of health professions to manage the problem.

Bad bite is the most common, but an injury resulting from a blow to the meniscus cartilage is also a possibility.  Para-functional habit such as clenching, grinding, nail biting, chronic gun chewing, etc. can also exhibit movements of your joint similar to patients with poor occlusion.  Initially, the dentist or oral surgeon will examine the jaw area, the patients bite, take x-rays, and review the patient’s history in order to make an accurate diagnosis and recommend necessary treatment.  In severe cases, MRI scan is recommended to diagnosis the condition of the meniscus.  

Once a firm diagnosis is attained, there are several ways in which relief can be provided. A specially molded bite guard can be created to stop teeth grinding during the night. A bite relationship analysis may be recommended by the dentist.  

Anti-inflammatory medication such as high dose NSAID and muscle relaxant can be prescribed for intermittent use.  Physical therapy referral can be made to also assist rehabilitation of joint pain and facial muscle pain that is often associated with TMD.  

Lastly, arthrocentesis of the joint procedure can be recommended by your oral surgeon to flush your joint space if your symptom does not resolve with non-surgical therapy.  Multiple session might be required depending on the severity of the joint disease.