The jaw joint is also known as the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). One can feel it by placing your fingers on both sides in front of the ears while opening and closing your mouth. These joints connect your mandible (lower jaw) to your temporal bone (skull). This joint allows the jaw to open, close, move side to side, and even extend forward. It is one of the most complex joints in our body and is frequently used. If you are experiencing TMJ pain, our Brampton dental clinic can investigate.
Temporomandibular disorder (TMD) is a collective term, which includes several clinical problems that involve the masticatory muscles (muscles helps in chewing), the TMJ and associated structures or both. This may involve one or both joints, often causing pain or limiting mouth opening or both. Symptoms usually arise in early childhood, but they can also affect children and elderly patients.
TMD most commonly affects individuals between the ages of 20 and 40. Approximately 33% of the population has at least one TMD symptom and less than 10% of the population has TMD with sufficient severity to cause them to seek treatment. Many times symptoms go away over a period of time without any treatment like any other joints in our body. But sometimes symptoms recur and progress to the chronic state of most frequent occurrence of pain. So it is always better to consult your dentist/TMJ specialist at an earlier stage when you experience symptoms to avoid any continuous pain in the future.
Causes and Symptoms
The cause of TMD is often unknown but various factors can aggravate TMD such as:
Symptoms of TMD may include:
For most of our patients, before we arrive at a diagnosis, radiographs are needed in evaluating them. Radiography includes 2D (two-dimensional) radiograph-like panoramic X-rays, Cephalometric X-rays and Intraoral X-rays. There are times we might need to take 3D (three-dimensional) images like CBCT (cone beam computerized tomography) and MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) for evaluating them. Based on the clinical evaluation and radiographic interpretation, a tentative clinical diagnosis is arrived, from which a treatment plan is outlined to help every patient.
Most patients with TMD get better without any treatment. But if the symptoms continue, discomfort can be managed in the following ways:
If you are experiencing jaw pain, set up an appointment with us right away.