TMJ Disorder

tmj disorderErie, Harborcreek and Millcreek, PA

Temporomandibular joint disorder, also known as TMJ or TMD, can be a potentially serious ailment that can affect your oral health, your overall health and be the case of significant pain.

When this joint malfunctions, it often leads to stress and tension in the jaw joints. Also, a misaligned bite can lead to strain in the jaw joints. Temporomandibular joint issues can impact the adjacent muscles, as well as the nearby nerves and blood vessels leading to migraines. If not resolved, even the vertebrae of the neck and spine can be affected.

The effects of TMJ disorder

One of the nerves that is often affected by TMJ is the trigeminal nerve, which is responsible for many involuntary functions that maintain the safety and comfort of the brain. This nerve also carries more sensory input to the brain than any other neural pathway—including the spinal cord.

When the temporomandibular joint affects the trigeminal nerve, it can lead to severe headaches. These headaches often are described as migraines, but will not respond well to medications that retreat migraines. These medications may diminish the intensity of these headaches, but they continue to occur with regular frequency.

Did you know an issue with the temporomandibular joint also could give you vertigo? A misalignment of the joint places an inordinate amount of additional pressure on the temporal bone, which disrupts the vestibular system of the inner ear.

Other consequences of TMJ can include the following:

  • Teeth grinding
  • Loose, worn, chipped or cracked teeth
  • Jaw soreness
  • Pain in the mouth that appears to migrate to different places
  • Facial pain
  • Neck, shoulder or back pain
  • Locked jaw, or clicking or grating sounds in the jaw
  • Numbness in extremities
  • Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)

TMJ treatment

At Laser Dentistry of Erie, we find that TMJ can be treated in most cases through a mandibular advancement device. This oral appliance pushes the lower jaw forward, bringing your bite and jaw back into alignment and relieving the pressure on the temporomandibular joint.

Each of these oral appliances is custom-made to make sure of the best fit and greatest chance of success for every patient who comes through our door.

If you are suffering from the symptoms listed above and TMJ is the cause, your problems will not just go away on your own. A dentist trained in neuromuscular dentistry is the best qualified medical professional to diagnose and treat TMJ. The staff at Laser Dentistry of Erie has that training. If you think you suffer from TMJ problems, call (814) 616-3130 to schedule your consultation.

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