TMJ Dentist in Boca Raton
Temporomandibular joint disorders are among the most common dental afflictions in the United States. In fact, it is estimated that some 10 million people suffer from Temporomandibular joint disorders or TMJ, and it seems to be more common in women than men.
What is TMJ Disorder?
TMJ disorders impact the temporomandibular joint, the joints and muscles of the jaw that make it possible to open and close the mouth. Situated on each side of the head, the Temporomandibular joints and muscles work together when doing any activity that involves opening and closing the mouth, including:
Temporomandibular joint disorders and the way that people respond to them vary widely; however, these conditions fall into three main categories:
- Myofascial pain, or pain in the muscles that allow the jaw to open and close
- Dislocation of the jaw, which displaces the disc that allows the jaw to move smoothly
- Arthritis, or an inflammatory joint disorder that can impact the Temporomandibular joint
A person may experience one or more of these conditions at one time.
Symptoms of TMJ Disorders
The signs and symptoms of TMJ disorders vary from person to person, and can include:
- Pain or tenderness in or near the jaw joint. This pain may radiate to the side of the head, the back of the neck, or the front of the ear.
- Tension headaches
- Aching pain in the face
- An uncomfortable or an uneven bite
- Difficulty when chewing
- Discomfort after chewing
- Locking of the jaw joint, which makes it difficult to open and/or close the mouth
- A clicking or grinding sound that occurs when the mouth is opened, or when chewing
Why do TMJ Disorders Occur?
The exact reason TMJ disorders develop is not known; however, it is believed that trauma to the temporomandibular joint does play a role. People who grind their teeth are more prone to Temporomandibular joint disorders, as are people who suffer from arthritis. Because these conditions are more common in women than in men, scientists think that female hormones may play a role in the development of TMJ disorders.
Diagnosis of Temporomandibular joint Disorders
In order to diagnose TMJ disorders, your dentist will need to perform a through physical exam. During the exam, your dentist will likely:
- Feel your jaw when you open and close your mouth
- Listen to your jaw while you open and close your mouth
- Observe your jaw’s range of motion
- Press around your jaw to determine the exact location of the pain and discomfort you are experiencing
- Dental X-rays or CT scans may also be necessary, as they provide more detailed images of the parts of the jaw that are impacted by TMJ disorders
Treatment for Temporomandibular joint Disorders
There are a number of treatment options available for TMJ disorders. They can include oral splints, mouth guards, physical therapy, arthrocentesis, Temporomandibular joint arthroscopy and open-joint surgery.
At Ericsson Dental, Dr. Ericsson performs a thorough evaluation of your jaw to make an accurate diagnosis of TMJ and determine the best possible treatment option for your particular case.