TMJ Diagnosis & Treatments

TMJ stands for temporal-mandibular joint; Temporal, as in temple area of the skull, mandibular as in the mandible, or lower jaw, and joint as in where the head and jaw meet.  Misalignment of the teeth, trauma, or excess muscle tension can cause problems in this joint.  This is an area where two bones meet so cartilage buffers them.  There are also five muscles that contribute to stability and function.  When things go wrong in this complicated area, a good deal of trouble can result.

Symptoms of TMJ:

  • Headaches
  • Earaches
  • Trouble/soreness in opening and closing the mouth
  • Clicking or popping of the jaw
  • Pain in the jaw muscles
  • Soreness in the area, sometimes extending to the face

Dental treatments for TMJ can include replacing missing teeth, moving teeth, adjusting the bite, and filling gaps between the teeth.  There is no one solution that is right for all cases.  Sometimes a plastic mouthpiece is used to prevent grinding or clenching that is contributing to the problem.  If left untreated and taken to extremes, surgery may be required to repair a badly damaged joint.