TMJ disorders involve the dysfunction of the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), which is located on both sides of the jaw and connects the jawbone to the skull. This joint is responsible for mouth movement. Surrounding the TMJ are connective tissues and muscles that assist with opening and closing the mouth. Every time you eat or speak, the TMJ and related tissues work in unison to promote smooth mouth movement. However, when TMJ disorder is present, patients experience a diminished ability to execute a normal oral function with ease. Without TMJ treatment, patients experience a wide variety of symptoms that affect oral health and general wellbeing. Our skilled team of oral surgeons offers TMJ treatment based on the unique needs of each patient.
Causes of TMJ Disorder
TMJ dysfunction can be caused by a malocclusion, the misalignment of the upper and lower jawbones. Malocclusions cause the teeth to scrape against each other unnecessarily during mouth movement and places excessive strain on the TMJ. This disorder may also be caused by worn-down teeth or tooth loss, both of which affect the way each set of teeth line up with one another.
Additionally, another major cause of TMJ disorder is stress. Many patients unknowingly grind their teeth when stressed or anxious. Over time, this habit of clenching the jaw and grinding teeth strains the TMJ and neighboring tissues.
Symptoms of TMJ Disorder
The most common symptoms of TMJ disorder include facial pain, especially near the jawbones, and difficulty opening and closing the mouth. Other symptoms also include frequent headaches and worn down teeth, typically molars. Some patients with TMJ dysfunction experience clicking and popping sounds during mouth movement, too.
TMJ Treatment and Therapy
The type of TMJ treatment offered by our oral surgeons varies from patient to patient. After determining the underlying cause of a patient’s TMJ dysfunction, our team will develop a treatment plan that alleviates symptoms and addresses the causes of TMJ disorder. Treatment may include corrective jaw surgery or custom-made mouthguards, worn at night, to relieve strain and pressure on the TMJ.