The “Temporomandibular Joint,”(TMJ) more commonly referred to as the “jaw joint,” assists in the basic opening and closing movements of the jaw. Unfortunately, this joint is a common area for recurring pain. Although conventional wisdom suggests that “popping” sounds in the jaw indicates a dysfunction, associated with the TMJ. This dysfunction, known as TMD is more related to the irregular position on articular disc which is responsible for helping your jaw bone this is not always true. Your jaw maybe functioning properly even if a “popping” sound is present when chewing or talking but the disc is in an altered position.
We offer a TMJ exam that evaluates the joint tissue in the “hinge” of the jaw. Possible problems include swelling, deterioration of the joint tissue or damaged joint tissue (which cushions the jaw bones during the opening and closing movement of the mouth). Common pain relievers and cold compresses can provide temporary relief for most cases of TMJ.
In order to properly understand the condition and position of the TMJ complex, a clinical exam is needed as well as imaging that would be prescribed after the exam. Imaging analysis that may be recommended to understand and diagnose the condition and position of the temporomandibular joint includes: Cone Beam Computed Tomography (CBCT) and/or Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI). The CBCT allows for evaluation of the hard tissue structures (bone) and the MRI allows for soft tissue analysis (the articular disc).
For more serious cases of TMJ, we will recommend alternate treatments. Often, we will suggest using an occlusal splint mouth guard to relieve teeth grinding. In some cases, we will refer you to an orthodontist or dentist who has expertise in this area.