The temporomandibular joint or TMJ is arguably the most complex joint in the body.

These two joints and their respective muscles work together and allow you to talk, swallow, and chew. There is a cartilage disc in each joint that acts as a cushioned pad to help the jaw open widely, rotate, and glide through its movements.

Any problem that keeps this system of muscles, nerves, tendons, ligaments, bones, connective tissue, and teeth from working together properly can cause pain or discomfort.

Our dental exams include a comprehensive review of the TMJ joint and surrounding muscles.

TMJ Problems

Temporomandibular Disorders (TMD) are caused by:

  • arthritis in the joints
  • dislocation of the joints
  • injury
  • problems in the way the teeth bite together
  • stress

Signs and symptoms

  • pain in or around the ear
  • difficulty opening your mouth
  • clicking or popping in the joint
  • tender jaw muscles

Diagnosing TMD

A comprehensive dental examination is needed to evaluate any TMD symptoms you may be experiencing.

  • the joints and muscles are checked for tenderness, popping, clicking, or difficulty moving
  • a review of your complete medical history is conducted
  • in some cases x-rays and models of your teeth are taken

With all this information a step-by-step plan of treatment is then developed.

Treating TMD

Treatment for TMD can vary from simple to complex. The most important element is the correct diagnosis of the problem. This is why a complete and thorough understanding of the whole masticatory system is needed as well as a comprehensive examination of the system.

TMJ problems will generally get worse over time and is usually one of the signs that the system is unstable.

We work with our patients to build an individual treatment plan and monitor the results closely.