Do you have jaw pain or chronic headaches? Has your doctor or dentist referred you to our office to be assessed for TMJ?
TMJ, or temporomandibular joint disorder, is the name used to describe the inflammation and pain caused by stress being placed on the joint between your lower jaw and your skull. Because your jaw isn’t joined to your skull in the way that other bones join together, the joint between the two can become inflamed if it is subjected to stress.
TMJ has a variety of causes, but the most common are clenching your teeth, misaligned or crooked teeth, grinding your teeth at night, stress, and injury to your jaw from excessive chewing such as chewing gum or biting your fingernails.
To diagnose TMJ we carefully examine your jaw, teeth and neck to detect any areas of inflammation or any factors that could cause irritation. We will also take special X-rays to see your jaw, neck and skull in profile to detect any alignment issues.
Treatments for TMJ focus on two areas: reducing the factors causing the inflammation, and treating the inflammation itself.
To address the causes of inflammation we may teach you exercises and stretches to improve the strength and flexibility of your jaw joints, we may recommend orthodontic correction of bite issues, or we may prescribe a bite plate or night appliance to reduce the amount of grinding and clenching you do when you are asleep.
To treat inflammation we may use anti-inflammatory medication, treatments such as massage or physiotherapy, or other pain reduction techniques.