The joint between your lower jaw and your skull is known as the temporomandibular joint or TMJ. This joint consists of muscles and connective tissues that hold your jaw in place and allow you to speak and chew. Sometimes the TMJ can become irritated, resulting in inflammation in the connective tissue. If this inflammation spreads or intensifies, it creates the set of symptoms we know as TMJ disorder, also known as “TMJ.”
TMJ is caused by anything that places stress on the jaw or the joint. Some causes are clenching teeth, chewing your nails or gum, stress, and jaw alignment issues. Stress placed on the joint causes the tissues to become inflamed.
The first step in diagnosing TMJ is to check for symptoms. Common symptoms of TMJ include localized pain in the jaw, a “locking” or “clicking” sensation while chewing or opening and closing your mouth, headaches and facial pain, and trouble swallowing.
If you are suffering from these symptoms, we will examine your skull, jaw and mouth for possible causes of TMJ. We will also assess your current overall health and stress level to determine any non-dental contributing factors.
TMJ is treated by methods that reduce the stress placed on your jaw and the temporomandibular joint. Inflammation can be treated with stretching, jaw exercises, and medication. We may also prescribe dental appliances to prevent clenching and grinding, orthodontic treatment to address bite issues, or physiotherapy to correct any underlying musculoskeletal causes.