TMJ Dentist Phoenix Ahwatukee AZ

TMJ Treatment In Phoenix & Ahwatukee, AZ

Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction

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What Is TMJ

What is TMJ?

TMJ is an abbreviation for temporomandibular joint dysfunction. You use your temporomandibular joint when you are chewing, talking and yawning. This joint is located on both sides of your head directly at the base of your skull and provides the connection between your lower jaw and skull. Your TMJ consists of a rounded mandible or flat bone protrusion sitting against an indentation in your skull in addition to a structure similar to a disc made of cartilage between your two bones.

We refer to this structure as an articular disc. Think of your temporomandibular joint as a type of hinge enabling you to move your jaw from side to side and up and down. When you experience issues with the muscles of your face controlling this hinge and your jaw it is called temporomandibular joint dysfunction. Unfortunately, this condition can result in severe issues with your jaw including a locked jaw. Your jaw can also become stuck in an open position permanently.

If this happens, we recommend going to the hospital as quickly as possible. When the cartilage in your jaw breakdown, your jaw can become dislocated and require immediate medical attention.

Common Symptoms of TMJ

TMJ often results in discomfort or severe pain. This can be temporary or continue for several years and can impact one side of your face or both. Temporomandibular joint dysfunction is more common among women than men and is especially common for individuals between 20 and 40 years of age. The most common symptoms include:

  • Tenderness in your jaw joint, face, shoulders, neck or ear when opening your mouth, talking or chewing
  • Your jaw becoming locked or stuck in a closed or open mouth position
  • Sometimes painful grating, popping or clicking sounds in your jaw joint when chewing, closing or opening your mouth
  • An unexpectedly uncomfortable bite to difficulty chewing
  • Facial swelling
Symptoms of TMJ
Causes of TMJ

Causes of TMJ

Unfortunately, the cause of TMJ remains unknown at this time. Many dentists believe the symptoms are a result of issues with your jaw muscles or specific areas of your joint. TMJ can result from injuring your joint or jaw or the muscles of your neck and head. This can happen due to whiplash or a heavy blow to your jaw or head. If you clench or grind your teeth, you are placing significant pressure on the movement of your joint, disc or soft cushion movement or your joint’s ball and socket.

Arthritis in your joint may cause TMJ in addition to tightening your jaw or facial muscles. Your dentist can help with temporomandibular joint dysfunction. If necessary, your biting surface can be balanced by replacing any missing teeth or the use or braces, bridges and crowns for the correction of a bite issue. Your dentist will examine your jaw and talk to you about your symptoms. In most instances, your dentist will:

  • Feel and listen to your jaw while you are opening and closing your mouth
  • Evaluate the range of motion within your jaw
  • Press on the areas surrounding your jaw to find areas of discomfort and pain

If your dentist believes there is an issue or you may have TMJ, you may require:

  • Take x-rays to examine your jaw and teeth
  • Recommend an MRI to identify issues with your joint disc or soft tissue
  • Recommend a CT scan for detailed images of all of the bones related to your joint

I plan to tell all my family and friends about this friendly place. As far as going to the dentist goes, this was a positive experience!

Rosalee C.Patient
Treatment of TMJ

Getting TMJ Treatment

If you believe you may be suffering from TMJ, schedule a consultation with your dentist. We will perform an assessment to determine the movement of your jaw joints and examine your facial muscles and teeth for signs of tenderness, teeth clenching and teeth grinding. You may require additional tests such as x-rays.

If you do not have your jaw pain treated, the quality of your life is likely to suffer. If you are experiencing jaw pain or issues involving your jaw, your best possible option is to consult with your dentist. The sooner the issue is identified and treated, the quicker you will be able to resume a life without pain.

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