The Temporo Mandibular Joint (TMJ) is the medical name given to the jaw joint. It is made up of the lower jaw which articulates against a disc in the cup-shaped depression of the skull by the ear. If the lower jaw is displaced it can cause the disc to come away from its correct position and dislocate, causing a clicking and grating noise when the mouth opens.
When the TMJ dislocates it can cause symptoms such as headaches, migraines, neck-ache, tinnitus, fatigue and pain to name but a few. Patients often grind their teeth at night and may have difficulty opening wide or click or grate in the TMJ when opening, and have some pain in the joint area itself in front of the ear.
There is some exciting research and work being done in which orthodontics and surgery on deranged TMJs has helped patients with Muscle Movement Disorders, Tourettes, Blepharospasm and Dystonias.
The diagnosis is crucial in understanding and treating TMJ problems and dentist Caroline Oleszkiewicz has many years’ experience working within this discipline. The full examination at Ringley Park Dental Practice will involve, muscle testing, ranges of motion, analysis, X-rays and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI). Treatment can involve wearing splints and braces on the teeth to realign the jaw into its correct position. In the majority of cases this eliminates most of the symptoms, especially the headaches and migraines. If the jaw joints are extremely damaged surgery may be needed to complete this treatment.
Some of the numerous and varied symptoms which can occur are listed below:
- Headaches / Migraines
- Jaw joint clicking or grating
- Jaw clenching and Bruxism (teeth grinding)
- Sleep Apnoea
- Atypical Facial Pain & neuralgias
- Facial muscle aches and tics
- Neck and Shoulder Pain
- Ear pain, tinnitus, hearing loss
- Muscle Movement Disorders
A multi-disciplinary approach is needed for some patients. Podiatry, Osteopathy, Chiropractic, Cranial work, Massage Therapy, Psychiatry, Physiotherapy, Nutritionists and other Allied Professionals can all assist in treatment of TMJ disorders.