What Is TMJ?
“TMJ” is an acronym for Temporomandibular Joint. It refers to the area where the lower jaw, the Mandible, hinges with the upper jaw, the Maxilla. It is also mistakenly referred to as a disease in the lay person’s terminology. It is simply the “jaw joint” and is akin to saying wrist or knee or hip.
What is TMD?:
“TMD” is an acronym for Temporomandibular Disorder and is a general term used to describe a disorder of the jaw joint and/or structures compromising the entire joint complex. It is not just a simple disease. Many different ramifications and presentations of TMD exist and are principally classified as occlusal (bite)/muscle disorders, intra capsular (within the joint) and extra capsular (outside the joint) disorders.
What are Symptoms of TMJ & TMD?
TMD & TMJ symptoms such as clicking in the joint, headaches, limitation of movement, tired jaw muscles, clenching or grinding teeth, bite changes, or may have none at all. In some disorders the Sympathetic Nervous System and/or cervical spine nerves contribute to the disorder and make it even more complex.
There are also signs or red flags that indicate a disorder is present even though there may be no symptoms at all. Some of these are excessively worn teeth, upper and lower front teeth which do not touch when the back ones do, excessive over bite, facial asymmetry, failed or repeated Orthodontics and a smaller lower jaw/chin just to name a few. In any event, TMD problems are more predictably treated today than they were even just a few years ago. Dr Boesch has extensive training in this area of dentistry and has been helping people who suffer from TMD for the last 15 years. "TMJ specialists" do not exist. This discipline of Dentistry is not recognized by the ADA as a "Specialty" like Periodontics or Orthodontics and therefore a dentist can not advertise or claim to be a "TMJ Specialist"
- Pain in the jaw area
- Pain, ringing, or stuffiness in the ears
- Frequent headaches or neck aches
- Clicking or popping sound when the jaw moves
- Swelling on the sides of the face
- Muscle spasms in the jaw area
- A change in the alignment of top and bottom teeth
- Locked jaw or limited opening of the mouth
What are the treatments for TMJ & TMD Pain Relief?
There is no “one” treatment or cure for TMD’s and each must be evaluated on an individual basis and a custom treatment plan be developed to solve the underlying problem/s. In most all cases MRI imaging, CBCT imaging and a detailed history and thorough examination is required to help diagnose the problem.
Treatment varies from a simple bite adjustment, splint therapy and in certain disorders a surgical correction of the TM joint or the jaws may be required. Since the jaw joint and the teeth are interdependent it is necessary to take molds of the teeth and mount them on a device called an articulator, which simulates the bite relationship between the upper and lower jaw.