Questions about TMJ

questions about tmjErie, Harborcreek and Millcreek, PA

Ever heard of temporomandibular joint disorder? Also known as TMJ, this condition occurs when the temporomandibular joint enters dysfunction. A patient with TMJ can suffer from chronic pain that can affect the ability to function on a daily basis. However, relief can come from a neuromuscular dentist who has special training to diagnose and treat a case of TMJ.

For more information about TMJ, here are some commonly asked questions, and their answers.

What causes TMJ?

Any of the following issues or incidents can lead to a case of TMJ:

  • An injury suffered either to the jaw, the temporomandibular joint itself, the head, or neck
  • Bruxism, which also is known as teeth grinding or clenching
  • Arthritis located in the temporomandibular joint
  • Stress
  • Uneven bite (overbite, under bite or cross bite)
  • Crooked teeth

What are the symptoms of TMJ?

Patients with TMJ regularly report the following:

  • Pain in the face, neck, shoulders, or jaw
  • Clicking or popping in the jaw, or locked jaw
  • Difficulty chewing
  • Malocclusion, which also is known as bad bite
  • Ringing, stuffiness, or congestion in the ears
  • Headaches or migraines
  • Pain in the jaw joints while chewing

TMJ often results in painful headaches of migraine-like intensity, which usually do not respond to normal migraine treatments. Severe pain is a regular consequence of TMJ because the temporomandibular joint is located very close to the trigeminal nerve, which transmits more sensory information to the brain than any other neural pathway—including the spinal cord.

Why choose a neuromuscular dentist?

No medical professional has a better set of qualifications to diagnose and treat TMJ than a neuromuscular dentist. This is a specialty of the dental field that focuses on finding the ideal alignment of the bite and jaw. Neuromuscular dentists have special additional training that goes beyond dental school.

How is TMJ treated?

Treatment will vary for each patient, but a neuromuscular dentist best treats TMJ. Neuromuscular dentists often choose to treat TMJ through oral appliance therapy. Using impressions of your mouth, we fabricate an oral appliance that is custom-made to fit your mouth as securely as possible. When worn, this appliance places your bite and jaw in the preferred alignment, resolving TMJ and any symptoms of the disorder.

If you suffer from TMJ, we can help. Contact our office by calling (814) 825-2615.

Laser Dentistry of Erie serves Erie, PA, and the surrounding areas.