TMJ is stands for TemporoMandibular Joint. It connects mobile lower jaw with the skull. This complex joint is responsible for movement of the jaw during the opening and closing of the mouth. Our ability to talk, to chew and to swallow is directly related to the proper functioning of our TMJ. If the joint is not working properly, it can cause spasms in the muscles and dislocation of the disc. The continuing cycle of muscle spasms, together with damage of soft tissues, will cause the development of some very painful symptoms ranging from headaches and stiff neck to ear pain and dizziness. If you are suffering from the symptoms of TMJ and don’t know where to look for help, then evaluating your TMJ is a must to obtain your Real Smile.
When your teeth and jaws are not aligned properly, it will affect the position of the jaw inside the joint. The head of the condyle of the lower jaw can press onto the nerves and blood vessels, which are present in abundance in the back portion of the joint just in front of the ear. It will also cause muscle spasms around the joint. The disc inside the joint, which separates bones and enhances the movement of the jaw, may become dislocated. It will cause clicking, popping, or grating sounds within the joint and create difficulty in opening or moving the jaws. TMJ disorder can cause several symptoms, including “tension headaches”, neckaches or stiff neck muscles, chronic shoulder or back pain.
Headaches may occur in temple areas, back of the head, around the eyes or behind the ears. You may experience itchiness or stuffiness in your ears, suffer from loss of hearing or hear ringing, buzzing or hissing sounds. Your jaw can ache when you chew, open wide or feel tired after a big meal. You may also get dizzy, feel faint or nauseated and acquire blurry vision. If you have any of these symptoms, you may be having a TMJ syndrome, which’s preventing you from revealing to the world your Real Smile.
The main reason for TMJ symptoms is incorrect position of the condyle of the jaw inside the joint, which is usually jammed up and back, causing the damage of the soft tissues and dislocation of the disc. If it is not corrected, it can cause damage to the bones, which may be irreversible. The first step in treating TMJ is to get a correct diagnosis. It involves taking special X-rays, examination of the patient’s mouth and a muscle test. When diagnosis is confirmed, then treatment can be started. Treatment of TMJ disorder may involve a special bite appliance (TMJ splint). A TMJ splint is a removable piece of plastic, which is placed between the teeth to guide the lower jaw into the right position in order to provide the joint with rest and time to heal.