Temperormandibular joint disorders, otherwise known as TMJ disorders, refer to problems and conditions that adversely affect the joint that connects your skull’s temporal bone to your lower jawbone. It is a joint that is vital for the smooth movement of your jaws; it allows you to yawn, speak and chew without discomfort.
When a patient’s temperomandibular joint is affected, he or she may suffer symptoms such as grating or clicking sounds during chewing or speaking. Other problems such as facial pain and tenderness in the cheeks, neck and shoulders, difficulty chewing or biting, as well as discomfort and extreme pain, can persist for many years if left untreated.
Because the symptoms of TMJ disorders are similar to symptoms for toothache or gum disease, a thorough examination of the mouth, temporomandibular joints, jaw movement, bite and muscle function will be performed. If necessary, panoramic and cephalometric x-rays will be taken.
There are many treatments available for TMJ disorders, ranging from basic, but effective, treatments such as medications, application of heat or cold packs to the affected area, to more permanent solutions such as low-level laser therapy, splints or night-guards.
William J. Hidlay, DDS has been diagnosing and treating patients suffering from TMJ disorders for more than 30 years. If you are suffering from persistent aches in your jaw, teeth, or neck, you may be suffering from TMJ disorder and may need a thorough oral examination.