The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is one of the body’s most complex joints. TMJ disorder (TMD) occurs when there is a misalignment or function issue with this joint. Here, our Toronto dentists discuss the three types of TMJ disorders, their symptoms, and the treatment options.
What Is TMJ Disorder?
The TMJ joint is the hinge of your jaw that permits you to speak and eat.
Temporomandibular joint disorders (TMD) happen when there is an issue with your jaw and facial muscles. You begin to experience pain in the area and if the disorder progresses to a severe state, the joint may eventually be unable to move.
Types of TMJ Disorder
1. Joint Degenerative Disorders
Most commonly known as osteoarthritis, this joint degenerative disorder happens when cartilage holding the round ends of the two bones in your jaw together breaks or wears away.
Cartilage absorbs shocks during movement, while allowing your bones to glide easily over each other. When the cartilage erodes, pain and swelling will occur, and you may not be able to move your jaw.
3. Muscle Disorders
Also referred to as myofascial pain, muscle disorders involve pain and discomfort in all the muscles controlling the function of your jaw. You may also experience pain in your jaw muscles, shoulders and neck.
3. Joint Derangement Disorders
A soft, small disc located between the temporal bone and the condyle makes the opening and closing of the jaw smooth and easy. This disc is also important as it absorbs shocks to the jaw joint that happen during movement.
When an individual has a joint derangement disorder, the inner workings of the jaw are disrupted or unbalanced due to a dislocated disc or damaged bone.
This displaced disc causes internal derangement of the temporomandibular joint. Currently, there is no surgical solution to this problem.
Symptoms of TMJ Disorder
- Headaches, dizziness or pain in your temples
- Grinding, clicking or popping sounds when you open your jaw
- Additional pain in your neck and/or shoulders
- Facial bruising or swelling
- Problems opening, closing or clenching your jaw
When You Should See a Dentist for TMJ Treatment
If at-home remedies such as massaging the jaw and chewing gum have proven ineffective, you may need to pursue professional help. When visiting a dentist for potential TMJ, there are a few common treatment options your dentist will suggest:
- Oral Surgery
- Dental splints
- Prescription medications
- TMJ therapy
- Physical Therapy
Your dentist can help you manage your TMJ Disorder with a combination of home remedies and attentive dental care.