Plantation, Florida Dental Implant Specialist Dr. Mauricio Hervas

What is a temporomandibular disorder? Or well known as TMJ?

As we all know the human body has joints. One of the strongest joints we have is located in our mouth, which allows us to open and close our mouth, eat and chew. If you are someone who suffers from a temporomandibular joint and muscle disorder you have to let your dentist know. This condition is commonly called TMJ – a name given to a group of conditions that cause pain and dysfunction in the jaw joint and the muscles that control jaw movement.

Is it painful?

It depends. Patients who have this type of joint or muscle disorder cannot have their mouth open for a long period of time. The pain could be located in only one area. When there is misalignment of the teeth or jaw, teeth grinding, poor posture, stress and gum chewing. It is a pain that compresses the movement between the jaw and the muscles around it. It is treatable, difficult to determine the exact cause but can be a combination of genetic factors: arthritis or accidents in the jaw.

All the problems that impede the normal work of this complex system of muscles, ligaments, discs and bones, are grouped under the name of TMJ disorders. Frequently, the alteration of the TMJ feels as if the jaw jumped or got stuck for a few seconds.

What are the symptoms of TMJ?

Some of the most common TMJ symptoms are the following:

  • Headaches (often similar to migraines), pain in the ears, and pain and pressure under the eyes.

  • A snap or crack when opening or closing the mouth.

  • Pain caused by yawning, wide open mouth or chewing

  • Jaws that “lock”, close or leave the place.

  • Painful discomfort in the muscles of the jaw.

  • A sudden change in the way the upper and lower teeth fit over each other.

How is TMJ treated?

While there is no single cure for TMJ dysfunction, there are different treatments to follow that reduce symptoms significantly. Your dentist can recommend one or more of the following suggestions:

  • Try to eliminate muscle spasm and pain by applying moist heat or taking relaxing medications, aspirin or other over-the-counter pain relievers or anti-inflammatory drugs.

  • Use a device, sometimes called a bite plate or splint, to reduce the damaging effects of excessive clenching and grinding. Made to measure for your mouth, the device slides over the upper teeth and prevents grinding against the lower teeth.

  • Learn relaxation techniques to help control muscle tension in the jaw. Your dentist may suggest consulting with a specialist to eliminate stress.

  • When the mandibular joints are affected and other treatments have not been able to resolve the conflict, surgery might be recommended.

For more information please contact Dr. Mauricio Hervas at Implantation Dental Center 954.476.0770

(954) 476-0770