What Is It?
TMJ, or temporomandibular joint disorder, is a condition in which the temporomandibular joint is dislocated or otherwise damaged. This can result from an injury to the jaw or from nighttime teeth grinding. The displaced joint disk may produce a popping or clicking sound when the jaw is opened wide. TMJ limits jaw movement and causes pain when opening and closing the mouth.
What it Does
TMJ causes persistent headaches, jaw pain and pain when eating or chewing. These conditions can also cause sleeplessness, which results in other problems such as fatigue and bodyaches.
Because the jaw muscles often feel clenched or tight with TMJ, often the neck and shoulder muscles will become tense and sore. For TMJ sufferers, massage therapy on a regular basis often helps relieve their symptoms.
The pain caused by TMJ often drives those with the disorder to seek treatment. Most use a daily pain reliever as a short-term treatment. Visiting the dentist can help patients develop a long-term treatment plan for their TMJ. A thorough history will be taken by the dentist to determine which treatments are best for you. Some dentists will prescribe a mandibular repositioning device to be worn for short periods of time to relieve the symptoms of TMJ.
If all short-term care options are exhausted, a dentist may suggest surgery to move the jaw and reposition the temporomandibular joint .