The acronym TMJ refers to the jaw joint, or temporomandibular joint, which connects the temporal bone of the skull to the mandible or lower jaw. The TMJ is one of the most frequently used joints in the body, allowing us to easily speak, chew, swallow and laugh.
The jaw joint is connected to several parts of the body including the spine by tendons, nerves, blood vessels, and muscles. The position of the mandible or lower jaw is largely determined by way the teeth come together when we close our mouths.
When the joint is not positioned properly, people can experience several uncomfortable or painful symptoms. There are many treatments available to help mitigate the symptoms of TMD, but treatment of the root cause of the disorder is the only way to ensure that symptoms do not return.
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF TMJ DISORDER
- When the bite is out of balance, torqueing the jaw joint, the body continuously tries to correct the imbalance, causing countless symptoms such as:
- Poor posture
- Severe headaches that feel like migraines
- Jaw Pain
- Clicking or popping in the jaw joint
- Back and neck pain
- Ear aches and ringing in the ears
- Facial pain
- Limited jaw movement, especially in opening the mouth
- Limited range of motion in neck and upper extremities
- Tooth sensitivity
- Worn down and broken teeth
If you are experiencing one or more of these symptoms, contact your dentist or a recommended TMJ specialist for evaluation.
There are myriad treatments that profess to treat TMJ disorder and some really only treat the symptoms rather than the root cause. They only offer temporary relief that requires repeated treatment.
Some physicians advocate surgeries to fix the problem, but these surgeries are invasive, usually irreversible, and frequently compound the problem. Most dentists that understand the neurology involved in TMJ disorder prefer treating the root of the problem, providing a more effective, non-invasive treatment option for TMJ sufferers.
Advanced neuromuscular technologies, such as the TENS and K7 systems, may be used to determine how your bite should be adjusted. An orthotic (also called a bite splint) is generally used to adjust the bite into the ideal position to alleviate symptoms. This allows the jaw muscles to relax and takes pressure off of nerves and blood vessels in the jaw joint. Once a person is enjoying symptom-free life, s/he can choose to continue wearing the orthotic or opt for more permanent treatment such as a permanent orthotic that is bonded to the teeth or dental reconstruction to reshape the teeth to the new position. The latter option can be combined with a smile makeover.
Parkinson’s Resource Organization invites you to welcome the newest TMJ Dentists in the WELLNESS VILLAGE, Doctors William H. Funk (Kentucky) and Steven Winber (Colorado). Check out the others listed in this category, there may be one in your area.
If you refer into the WELLNESS VILLAGE a TMJ Dentist that has helped you alleviate symptoms that, until now may have been considered only Parkinson’s symptoms, we will thank you with a sheet of 20 Parkinson’s Resource Organization 45¢ postage stamps.