The temperomandibular joint (TMJ) is located in front of the ear canal on both sides of the head. The TMJ consists of muscles, disks, blood vessels, and a joint. Patients may suffer pain or discomfort in their TMJ that interferes with their daily activities. Symptoms may result in one or more of the following:
- Limited mouth opening
- Muscle soreness on one or both sides of the face
- Popping or clicking of the TMJ with pain
- Lock jaw
Causes such as rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, internal derangement, neoplasm, muscular disorders and infection affect the health of the TMJ. A key to treatment is to understand where the primary origin of your pain is and if an outside element might be adding to the problem. Stress is a major outside element that affects many of us and can also have detrimental affects on our teeth and TMJ. Stress can lead to involuntary grinding and clenching of the teeth. This force placed on our teeth daily can cause a tooth to chip, break, crack and show signs of gum recession, all of which result in exposure of the root. Protecting the health of our TMJ and teeth is important in our daily lives, and each of our patients receives a TMJ evaluation during their initial exam.