TMJ Disorder

what_other_bite1The condition is known commonly as TMJ but the full name is temporomandibular joint disorder, and it can cause a variety of troublesome symptoms for the more than 15% of American adults affected. Symptoms may include an uncomfortable feeling when biting down, pain in or around the ear, migraines or other versions of headaches and aches in the neck, bruxism (grinding of teeth), tenderness of the jaw, or a clicking or popping noise when opening or closing the mouth.

Other TMJ symptoms:

  • Facial pain
  • Tooth sensitivity (especially to hot or cold temperatures)
  • Difficulty chewing
  • Locked jaw
  • Inability to bite all the way down
  • Limited ability to open mouth
  • Tinnitus (ringing in ears) or muffled sensation in ears
  • Worn down, loose, or broken teeth
  • Gum recession or bone loss around the teeth
  • Dizziness

The exact cause of individual cases of TMJ can be difficult to pinpoint. Some common causes include: trauma or injury of the chin or jaw, missing teeth, poor alignment of the jaw/teeth, arthritis, poor dental treatment, and even stress! Generally, bruxism or grinding of the teeth is the first symptom of these conditions that patients experience. Bruxism causes extensive damage to the teeth and then TMJ. Failure to treat TMJ initially can lead to serious joint damage, sometimes necessitating surgical intervention.

It is important for individuals with recurring headaches to be aware that they are one of the most common symptoms of TMJ. Headaches (tension headaches, migraines, and sinus headaches) are commonly misdiagnosed. The link between bite and headaches is not always considered with many qualified medical specialists delivering diagnosis based on patient-reported symptoms alone. Patients may not even remember what a correct bite felt like. At Willow Bend Dental, we are extensively trained to pick up on the link between bite and headaches. So if your bite is the cause of your pain, we will know and be able to help you without medicine. We use a variety of options including bite analysis, equilibration, night guards, and devices called NTI’s, as treatment methods. You can visit www.nti-tss.com for more information.

Dr. Beougher has advanced dental training relating to TMJ and is dedicated to using the least invasive method possible to achieve comfort and regain normal functioning for his patients. Depending on the nature and severity of an individual’s condition, appropriate therapies can vary widely. The best first step is to schedule a consultation if you think you might suffer from TMJ.

For more information about headaches, bruxism, or TMJ, please contact us.