What is TMJ?
TMJ is an abbreviation for a joint of the jaw known as the temporomandibular joint. It is the point of intersection for the jaw and the skull. When this joint begins to malfunction, there can be painful results. The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial research has estimated that as many as 10 million Americans suffer with TMJ problems to one degree or another.
What Causes TMJ Problems?
A malfunction of the TMJ can be brought on by physical stress, by trauma, by a misaligned bite, or even by emotional trauma. The majority of these irritations cause problems by producing clenched teeth or grinding teeth. This clenching and grinding can bring about accumulated pain and pressure. The pain and pressure eventually produces other difficult issues.
What Symptoms Could Indicate TMJ Problems?
TMJ malfunctions can be indicated by any of the following issues:
- Headaches, and especially migraine headaches
- Chronic earaches
- Grinding of the teeth
- The inability to open your mouth or close it
- Any popping or clicking when you open your jaw
- Tingling of the fingers
- Pain in the face, jaw, neck, shoulder, or lower back that cannot be explained
Dr. Fisher can conduct a thorough examination of your jaw, bite, and teeth in order to determine if the symptoms you are experiencing point to TMJ issues. If they do, most TMJ patients are able to find real relief through the use of oral appliances. A thin, comfortable mouth guard can reposition your jaw in order to ease the joint and to encourage proper alignment of the jaw. Getting your jaw in proper alignment can reduce the headaches and other common symptoms of TMJ.
Other possible treatments for TMJ disorder can include stress management, lifestyle adjustments, and a treatment that builds up the surface of your back teeth in order to change the alignment of your jaw.