TMJ (temporomandibular joints) are your jaw joints, located inside your jaw directly under your ears. TMJ are the most sophisticated joints in your entire body. These joints control your jaw movements during mastication (chewing), speaking and smiling. Although they are the most sophisticated, yet TMJ are also the most delicate due to their continuous use, both at day and night and the strong nature of our powerful jaw musculature.
TMJ disorders (TMD) are symptom related conditions, resulting from a disorder in these joints. These symptoms can range from variety of severities including:
- Pain up on waking up in the morning in the jaw or under the ears area
- Mild to severe discomfort
- Difficulty chewing and/or biting
- Clicking, popping, or grating sounds when opening or closing the mouth
- Tenderness of the jaw
- Reduced ability to open or close the mouth
Treatment of TMJ disorders (TMD) can include one or more of the following:
- Simple exercises
- Dental treatment appliances
Treatment appliances are constructed to control your jaw movement and position your joints properly to ensure minimal pressure. These appliances are custom designed based on your symptoms and can be used at nighttime and/or daytime depending on the course of your treatment. The “night guard”, also known as the “occlusal guard”, is a common treatment appliance for those who suffer from bruxing (teeth grinding) or clinching. It acts as a barrier between your teeth to save them from the effects of grinding (tooth wear) while protecting your TMJ (jaw joints) from excessive, unhealthy pressure. Surgical treatment is rarely recommended due to the poor success rate and the complicated nature of these joints. Make sure to get a second and third expert opinion if you ever considered surgical treatment. If you are experiencing pain in your TMJ (TMJ Disorder), schedule a consultation with Dr. Raanan is a specialist in the treatment of TMJ and has successfully treated many of these conditions.