Temporomandibular joint dysfunction, commonly known as TMJ syndrome, can be incredibly painful.
TMJ is one of the common causes of jaw pain and can cause a lot of unnecessary stress, because it affects you every time you eat or talk.
Many people with TMJ experience constant jaw pain, have difficulty chewing and locking their jaw joint. If left untreated it can get worse and cause more problems in the future if left untreated. It can become more difficult to treat and can often cause chronic headaches.
What is it?
The temporo-mandinbular joint or TMJ is the joint connecting the bottom jaw to the skull. There are two (one on each side) and they are one of the most complex joint systems in the human body. They both
have complex movements including rotating, sliding and moving and are also joined to each other via the lower jaw bone so are not independent. They allow us to chew in all directions for maximum eating efficiency. However, they can also be prone to problems due to their complicated structure. Jaw joint problems can show themselves in many ways such as a clicking or popping noise when opening or closing, locking of the jaw and chronic headaches.
One potential source of problems of the TMJ is the arrangement of the teeth. As you close your jaw, eventually the teeth touch and then the movements of the TMJs is completely guided by the arrangement of the teeth. If your teeth are off to one side, then your jaw will close to that same side, shunting the TMJ sideways. Do this thousands of times a day and the joint can start to get worn out.
You need to know
- At least 2 appointments
- At the first consultation visit the dentist will assess and recommend the best treatment option for you. They may refer you to an orthodontist or specialist
- At the second visit, if you’re with a dentist and they have recommended an appliance such as a plate you may have your appliance fitted. If you’re with an orthodontist you might start the process of orthodontic treatment
- Further appointments will usually be needed to check on the fit of the appliance or orthodontic work
How long does it take?
- The consultation will usually take around 30 minutes. This could be longer if impressions of the mouth are taken for the fit of a dental appliance
- The fitting of the appliance will usually take around 30 minutes
You may be asked about
- Your dental history and medical history
- The type of pain you’ve been experiencing and how long you’ve had it
After your appointment
- You will need to follow the care instructions recommended by your dentist, or your orthodontist if you have a dental appliance or have had orthodontic work
- You may feel some discomfort while you adjust to the dental appliance or braces