The jaw joint is largely responsible for the ability to open and close the mouth, chew, and speak. When the joint and its supporting muscles do not coincide, the risk for a chain-reaction of oral and/or health problems may occur that can lead to pain and discomfort. This type of dysfunction that relates to the jaw joint and muscles is known as temporomandibular disorder (TMD), and it often requires the expertise of a qualified oral surgeon.

TMD disorders can manifest itself in a number of ways that include a wide range of symptoms. A diagnosis can be achieved along with the appropriate therapy after a full clinical examination has been performed.

Are you experiencing a TMD problem?

Temporomandibular joint problems are sometimes focused on only the jaw joint, in which case symptoms such as popping and clicking, pain, limited range of motion in the joint, or lockjaw may occur. As the condition spreads to the muscles that support the jaw joint, headaches and neck aches may become more noticeable. Oral symptoms may include chipped teeth, worn or flattened teeth, receding gums, sensitivity, or chronic clenching and grinding of the teeth (typically, a nighttime habit).

Treating TMD

The symptoms and side-effects of a dysfunctional jaw joint can progress steadily without the appropriate treatment. The proper treatment can be implemented once the source of the problem has been identified. Generally, the most conservative treatment will be will be recommended. Conservative therapy is typically non-surgical and designed to promote the body’s natural healing process through bite splint therapy, relaxation techniques, and/or anti-inflammatory agents. Orthodontic treatments and restorative dentistry are also other effective options of treatment.

If there is extensive damage to the jaw joint or if we are unable to manage the discomfort using more conservative measures, then surgical procedures can be employed. If the need for surgical intervention arise our doctors are experts in the field of temporomandibular joint disorder and can help regain the jaw’s natural function.

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