What is TMJ?

TMJ stands for TEMPORO MANIBULAR JOINT, or jaw joint. This joint connects the lower jaw to the base of the skull; in fact everybody has 2 TMJ’s, one on each side of the lower jaw. These joints move each time we talk, chew, smile and swallow. The design of the human jaw joint is unique, they do actually slide and rotate; thus they are not functioning like a ball-and-socket joint. Inside the jaw joint there is a disc that will function like a sliding cushion. The disc is made of cartilage and is attached to ligaments and muscles in a way that it follows the jaw movement. Clicking of the jaw joint is usually an indication that there is something wrong with the disc or its attachments.

For more detailed information about the TMJ anatomy click here.

What is TMD?

Many people, even doctors, nurses, insurance companies use the term TMJ; in reality what they meant to say is: there is a problem with the TMJ, that is why it is also called TMD (Temporo Mandibular – joint Disorder).

The anatomy around the TMJ is very complex and it includes some major nerves; one of them is the Trigeminal nerve. Often this nerve is involved in this disorder, which explain why problems with the TMJ lead to multiple symptoms. When nerves are involved in this disorder, it could lead to muscle imbalances and dysfunction. This could lead to complaints of headaches and neck-aches and sometimes it could disturb the function of hearing and eyesight.

What is Orofacial Pain?

The term Orofacial Pain includes all disorders that create pain or discomfort in the head and neck area; this includes TMD, Trigeminal (and other) Neuralgia’s, Naturopathic Pain and other disorders or syndromes.

Because some of the signs and symptoms of TMD and Orofacial Pain are intertwined, it is important to have knowledge of this when making a diagnosis and treatment plan.

What are the common symptoms for TMD?

 

The following is a (not complete) list of symptoms that are associated with TMD:

  • Chronic Headaches
  • Clicking, Popping and Grating sounds in the jaw joint
  • Locking of Jaw
  • Pain when Chewing
  • Limited Jaw Opening
  • Tired or tight Jaws
  • Facial Pain
  • Congestions or ringing of Ears
  • Earaches
  • Dizziness
  • Throat Pain
  • Difficulty Swallowing
What is involved in treatment of TMD? Orofacial Pain?

To be able to do the best treatment possible, it is very important to have an as accurate diagnosis as possible. Our office will utilize state of the art equipment to do the entire test necessary; it involves among others: plane and tomographic X-ray’s , electrodiagnostic tests ( ElectoMyogram, Joint Vibration Analysis, Jaw Tracker), mounted studymodels and

Airway assessments.

After thorough review of the findings, a diagnosis of differential diagnosis will be presented and a treatment plan will be discussed.