Temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ/TMD) is a term covering pain and dysfunction of muscles of mastication (muscles that move the jaw) and the temporomandibular joints (joints connecting lower jaw to the base of the skull). The most important feature is "Pain", which leads to restrictive jaw movements and noises from the joints.
Symptoms of the temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ) widely vary and usually involve more than one of the various components of the masticatory system:
- Pain with muscles of mastication
- Limited range of jaw movement
- Headaches (Tension, myofacial, migraine)
- Malocclusion (Sensation that teeth do not meet together properly)
TMD can be caused by multiuple factors or triggers. A few possible causes of TMJ are:
- Trauma, accident, or injury to the neck, jaw of the head
- Habit (parafunctional) of grinding, clenching teeth
- Poor bite alignment (Malocclusion)
- Malformations of face, jaw and neck
- Dislocations of Temporomandibular discs
- Previous dental treatment putting stress on the TMJ
The process of understanding and identifying TMJ and its causative factors is accomplished through TMD therapy, an appliance, called bite splint or bite guard. The bite splint is used to promote proper re-positioning of the joint (ball of the jaws) and relaxation of muscular tension. Once these issues are accomplished then further focus can be addressed towards specific causes to TMD and appropriate solutions for long term stability.
If you are one who is experiencing these types of issues, and want to learn more, please feel free to contact Dr. MacDougall to schedule a consultation today!