What is TMJ/TMD?
The term “TMJ” is often used to define some sort of pain in the jaw joint. It is actually short for TemporoMandiblar Joint, which is your jaw joint. The term “TMD” refers to TemporoMandibular Disorder, or the disorders related to the jaw joint that can arise from how your joint functions and rests. These disorders and symptoms are numerous, and don’t affect people equally. One person may be able to better tolerate a larger disorder in their jaw joint or bite, while another may be thrown into a spin of debilitating migraines or facial pain by the slightest imbalance. These inconsistent symptoms can make an accurate diagnosis of the condition very difficult, and is often poorly understood by dentists and medical doctors alike.
Just a few common “TMD” symptoms are:
- Migraines and tension type Headaches
- Pain in the Jaw Joint
- Facial pain
- Clenching and/or bruxing of the teeth
- Ringing in the ears, ear pain, & ear congestion
- teeth sensitive to cold
- the jaw locking open or closed
Some people have suffered with these symptoms for so long, that they have adopted them as being normal aspects of their lives, and don’t know to seek help. They manage them with pain relievers, or other things, and never mention them to their dentist, and worse, their dentist never bothers to ask!
The treatment of jaw joint dysfunctions is multifaceted. There are several components that must be taken into account including how the upper and lower teeth fit together, known as occlusion, how the jaw joint itself is positioned, and where the muscles used to posture not just the jaw, but the head and neck as well are positioned. While the occlusion and jaw joint position seem obvious to treating TMD issues, they can not be addressed in absence of the muscles and soft tissues that complete the system.
It has been recognized that as much as 90% of pain in the body comes from the muscles. Since the muscles in the head and neck are all related to or affected by the occlusion or jaw relationship, it is important to address muscle comfort in the in the treatment of people who suffer with bite issues. Often, this aspect is overlooked.
When addressing the jaw joint system, it is important to address the entire system. This involves the teeth, the jaw joint, and the muscles and various soft tissues. A neuromuscular approach to treating TMD is the most complete perspective as it blends all three of these components. This approach starts with gathering objective data to evaluate the function and comfort of the muscles. This data is an excellent starting point for your journey to a comfortable and functional mouth.
At Saremi Johnstone Dentistry, we are able to help evaluate your TMD issues and offer our opinion and solutions to your pain. As always, you should feel free to ask your dentist any questions you have regarding TMJ pain and disorders. Or, we would love to have you visit us too. www.SaremiJohnstoneDentistry.com, (805) 496-7776
We look forward to seeing you soon.