TMJ is an abbreviation for the term temporomandibular joint. Simply stated, this is your jaw joint; the area where your lower jaw attaches to the skull at the temporal bone. You have two TMJ’s, one on each side of your face, although they work in unison.
When you experience discomfort or pain in this area, it is commonly referred to as TMJ when in actuality, TMJ is just the name of the joint. TMD is the correct term for the pain. It stands Temporomandibular Joint Disorder. To complicate things further, some people refer to the disorder with the unabridged acronym, TMJD.
The good news is that, whether you hear TMJ, TMD or TMJD, they all refer to the same thing; a painful problem with your jaw. Our TMJ dentists in Westminster, MD can help you relieve this pain.
Quite a mouthful to say, your temporomandibular joint is actually quite easy to find. To locate your jaw joint, trace your finger from right below your cheekbone to just in front of the middle of your ear. Can you feel that movement when you open and close your jaw? That’s your TMJ working.
How does your jaw feel? Place your little fingers, pads forward, in your ear canals and gently pull forward. Open and close your teeth. If you feel any clicking, popping or grinding? That’s a stressed TMJ.
TMJ is complicated. Your jaw joint is a very busy and powerful part of your anatomy. An intricate network of bones, muscles and nerves, it must be balanced and working in harmony with the surrounding structures to perform properly.
What throws a TMJ out of whack? It could be as simple as everyday stress and teeth grinding, or it could be the result of your genetics or how you jaw developed as you grew up. Missing teeth and injuries can also create TMJ. Whatever the cause, the solution is often dental.
If you experience any of the symptoms noted above, Westminster dentist Dr. Gary Imm can help you with neuromuscular dentistry. Don’t suffer needlessly with TMJ pain. Let Dr. Imm help you find a treatment to relieve it.
Are you tired of suffering from sore muscles, neck pain and backaches? Have you recently been diagnosed with TMJ? Even though you may be relieved to know the reason for your chronic headaches, jaw pain and ear ringing, you might be confused about what to do next.
The Internet is full of information, misinformation and opinions about TMJ, and trying to make sense of your options can be both intimidating and frustrating. There are many methods for treating TMJ, but here are some facts about three options to treat TMJ.
A TMJ orthotic, also referred to as a dental appliance or bite splint, is a simple and easy-to-use mouth piece that easily fits over your lower back teeth. It is made entirely of plastic, and it is designed to help move your lower jaw back into its natural bite position.
Your jaw muscles, TM joint and other related muscles are then able to relax so your pain, headaches and other symptoms begin to subside. With continued use, your jaw is gradually retrained to relax into its corrected, healthy alignment.
A full mouth reconstruction may sometimes be the best approach when there are a lot of issues affecting the TM joints. These problem areas include teeth that are cracked and damaged, back teeth that are significantly shortened from years of bruxism and a severely misaligned bite.
Accompanying symptoms can be severe and include jaw pain, migraines and neck pain. This type of treatment is very involved and doesn’t happen overnight. Treatments usually include some, but not necessarily all of the following:
Surgery can help to correct a jaw that is severely misaligned, either due to an accident, genetics or just through years of teeth grinding and jaw clenching, but it is always a last resort. There has been such excellent response to other non-invasive therapies that it is rarely needed.
Maybe you have been living with constant headaches for so long now, it’s just become a way of life.
In fact, it’s been so long since you haven’t had a headache you simply can’t remember what life was like before. This way of living has defined you.
TMJ affects all the muscles in the vicinity of your jaw, particularly those in your head, neck, back, shoulders and face. The joints, muscles and nerves of your neck, head communicate with each another. If a nerve in your neck (your jaw, your head) is pinched or irritated, the “hurt” can travel along that nerve and cause pain elsewhere.
It makes perfect sense then, if you suffer from TMJ, your facial muscles could be the ones to bear the brunt of the pain.
Whenever you use something repetitively, wear and tear is inevitable. This same fact holds true for your teeth. Think about that for a moment!
You use your jaw each and every day. Day-in-day-out your jaw is working every time you talk, breathe, kiss, eat, drink, swallow, laugh, yawn… You chew with them, bite with them, grind them, brush them, floss them and abuse them.
When everything’s working well, you can expect to see some wear and tear in this area, but, if your jaw is not properly lined up and subsequently affects your bite, the wear and tear on your teeth can increase exponentially.
Are you ears ringing, congested or painful?
Here you are, living and your ears are giving your problems. As much as you know something isn’t right, your doctor has never found a problem. You explain your symptoms, the doctor shines a light, explores your inner ears and exclaims –“nothing appears to be wrong”.
Still, you know the constant buzzing sound is real. You may also be occasionally hit with waves of dizziness.
Dr.Imm recommended full mouth reconstruction. I had no idea anything like this was possible. I had seen Extreme Makeover but didn’t know that a cosmetic dentist could help with the pain I was experiencing. Within 48 hours of having my orthotic placed, my pain was gone! I feel absolutely better and I look great too! Dr. Imm doesn’t just treat you as a patient, he treats you as a person – that is what really makes him stand out from other dentists. I carry his cards with me everywhere I go and hand them out constantly.