The human jaw is a framework of bones that form the mouth. The upper and lower portions are connected by the temporomandibular joint, or TMJ. It’s a hinge joint that allows the two portions to move in opposition to each other, which is how we bite and chew. Problems in this joint can be very painful, but there is help at Poss Sleep Apnea & TMJ Solutions in Brentwood TN.
Jaw problems are centered in the bones of the joint and in the muscles around them, including those in the face. These problems are called TMJ disorders, or TMD. Sometimes they are referred to as TMJ, which strictly speaking is inaccurate. Even some professionals use the term TMJ when they mean TMD.
The exact cause of TMD is not known for sure. Some people may be predisposed to jaw pain from the formation of their bone and muscle. Jaw injuries are also presumed causes, as well as injuries to other parts of the head and neck.
Dental specialists also consider the following as likely causes of TMD:
- Teeth grinding and/or clenching, which puts greater-than-normal pressure on the TMJ
- Stress, which can lead to clenching and tight muscles
- Movement of the disc that cushions the area between the ball and socket joint
The main symptoms of TMD are pain and discomfort. This may be in the form of pain in the face or jaw area, the neck and shoulders, and around the ear, especially when chewing or opening the mouth wide. It may also be in the form of headaches or neck aches.
TMD pain may only be temporary. But it can come and go, or can last for years. It is seen most often in people between twenty and forty years of age, and is more common in women than in men.
Treatments can run the gamut – from ice packs, over-the-counter pain relievers, and relaxation techniques, to possible surgery.
But the key to successful treatment begins with an accurate diagnosis. At Poss Sleep Apnea & TMJ Solutions in Brentwood TN, we have advanced diagnositc technology for that leads to effective treatment. If you are suffering with TMD, or suspect you might be, please contact us today to see how we can help.