Temporomandibular (TM) disorders include a wide variety of conditions including muscular problems, jaw joint conditions (many similar to those affecting other joints in the body), and arthritis and similar diseases.
Patients with this problem can have many symptoms. Headache, facial and neck pain, limited mouth opening, clicking of the jaw, ear pain, ringing in the ear, and even dizziness, fatigue, or sleep disorders are common.
Since not all doctors are familiar with the condition, patients frequently see a variety of specialists and undergo many tests before the diagnosis is made.
Fortunately, once diagnosed, more than 80% of patients can be helped easily through bite plate therapy, physical therapy, medications, and other non-surgical means. Some patients may require joint procedures, such as arthroscopy, if coordinated conservative therapy is not successful.
Prompt treatment gives the best results. When left untreated for long periods, TM disorders may worsen and prove difficult to relieve.
Trouble With Your Jaw?
TMJ disorders develop for many reasons. You might clench or grind your teeth, tightening your jaw muscles and stressing your TMJ. Or, you may have a damaged jaw joint due to injury or disease. Whatever the cause, the results may include a misaligned bite, pain, clicking or grating noises when you open your mouth, or trouble opening your mouth wide.
Do You Have A TMJ Disorder?
- Are you aware of grinding or clenching your teeth?
- Do you wake up with sore, stiff muscles around your jaws?
- Do you have frequent headaches or neck aches?
- Does the pain get worse when you clench your teeth?
- Does stress make your clenching and pain worse?
- Does your jaw click, pop, grate, catch, or lock when you open your mouth?
- Is it difficult or painful to open your mouth, eat, or yawn?
- Have you ever injured your neck, head, or jaws?
- Have you had problems (such as arthritis) with other joints?
- Do you have teeth that no longer touch when you bite?
- Do your teeth meet differently from time to time?
- Is it hard to use your front teeth to bite or tear food?
- Are your teeth sensitive, loose, broken or worn?
The more times you answered “yes”, the more likely it is that you have a TMJ disorder. Understanding TMJ disorders will also help you understand how they are treated.
TMJ Surgery Overview
For a brief narrated overview of the TMJ surgery process, please click the image below. It will launch our flash educational MiniModule in a separate window that may answer some of your questions about TMJ surgery.
There are various treatment options that our doctors can utilize to improve the harmony and function of your jaw. Once an evaluation confirms a diagnosis of TM disorder, we will discuss what we feel is your proper course of treatment. It is important to note that treatment usually works best with a team approach and that self-care (home care which can include diet, habit, and lifestyle changes) is an essential adjunct to treatment by a group of experienced professionals.