When asked what makes a smile unattractive, many people respond, “missing teeth.” Missing teeth are on display whenever you talk or smile. With proper care, dental implants can be long-lasting, effective replacements for missing teeth.
What is TMJ?
The acronym TMJ stands for two things:
Your temporomandibular, or jaw joint
A disorder with that very same joint
Confusing as it seems at first, TMJ is essentially a malfunctioning jaw joint.
Your temporomandibular joint is easy to locate, it’s just in front of the middle of your ear. To locate it, move your fingers along your cheekbones until they are just in front of your ear. Now, open and close your jaw. The movement that you feel is your jaw joint, the point where your lower jaw attaches to your skull.
A TMJ disorder can be painful
When your jaw is out of alignment, your upper and lower teeth meet incorrectly in a “bad bite”. This is what’s known as TMJ or TMJD – temporomandibular joint disorder.
With TMJ, your jaw muscles must work extra hard to do everything they need to do. When they tire, they recruit surrounding muscles – those of the head, face, neck and shoulders. Eventually these muscles fatigue as well, becoming strained and inflamed, putting pressure on the nerves that run through them, and sending pain signals to your brain
If stress is being placed on your jaw and surrounding muscles, you may develop certain symptoms, including:
In many cases TMJ can be treated. The first step is an accurate diagnosis. Most commonly, TMJ is diagnosed by a dentist or a physician. The exam often starts with an assessment of your face and jaw for:
pain or tenderness
noises made by the joint when it moves
the alignment of your bite
how far you can open your mouth
X-rays, CT scans, MRIs, K7 diagnostics or TENS (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation) are tools that medical health practitioners may chose to help with the diagnosis. They allow the dentist or physician or dentist see the surrounding bones, teeth and soft tissues in greater detail to determine if they have a role to play in the disorder.
Once the cause of your TMJ problem has been uncovered, the next step is finding a treatment.
TMJ treatment options include:
physiotherapy or massage to relax the jaw muscles
an orthotic to help your jaw move back into proper alignment
dental restorations such as crowns, veneers or dental bonding to repair damaged teeth
orthodontics to widen a too narrow jaw or straighten crooked teeth
MEET YOUR MOUTH DOCTOR
When it comes to treating a TMJ disorder, or any other medical or dental issue, the less invasive the treatment the better. After all, “first do no harm” is part of the Hippocratic Oath. That’s why we’d like to remind you that the information presented here should not be considered medical advice. To make sure you get the best care for your jaw joint problems, please seek advice from your physician or dentist.
Real Patient Stories
“Willlie suffered with severe TMJ issues and he has been successfully recieving treatment to help correct these concerns. He has been wearing a physiological fixed mouth appliance to help with his jaw and he also recieved reconstruction on his upper teeth with the placement of implants and cosmetic porcelain restorations.”
Lisa Ground’s Story
“Lisa Ground was unhappy with her overall smile and appearance. She has completed aesthetic porcelain reconstruction and is extremely happy with the changes it has made. She has had great success and has gone on to become the Mrs. North America Globe Classic 2015 winner.”