TMJ Pain

Does your Jaw pop or click every time you open and/or close your mouth?  Do the muscles in your face hurt or tire easily?  Does your jaw or TMJ area hurt when you are trying to eat even the softest of foods?  YOU COULD BE SUFFERING FROM TMJ ISSUES.

What is TMJ or TMD?

TMJ is what most patients call problems of their jaw joints; however, TMJ actually refers to the joint itself.

Temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMD, TMJD) is a term which describes the dysfunction of the muscles of mastication (the muscles that move the jaw) and the temporomandibular joints.   There are many symptoms associated with this disorder.  Many of which most patients would not even think of being related to their jaw joints.

 

TMJ Symptoms:

The most common symptoms that a patient can develop are pain, followed by restricted mandibular movement, and noises from the temporomandibular joints (like pops or clicks) during jaw movement.  Other symptoms that most do not associate with TMD can be tinnitus (ringing of the ears), clogged or congested ears, headaches, neck pain, grinding, clenching, fracturing of teeth or restorations, and neck pain.  It is important to understand that patients may experience one or all symptoms when suffering with TMD.  Temporomandibular joint dysfunction is a complex disorder that is thought to be caused by multiple factors.  Although TMD is not life-threatening, it can definitely effect a person’s quality of life due to the symptoms becoming chronic and difficult to manage.

Dr. Tracy Davidian is revolutionizing the way TMD is treated throughout North Carolina.

TMJ

Diagnosis

Dr. Davidian takes a holistic approach by considering your medical history, and a physical examination of your head, neck, and teeth. She will conduct a series of tests and use the data to determine whether your bite is a factor.  If these tests show that your bite is a likely cause of your pain, Dr. Davidian will then identify a new position for your jaw, based on the relaxed state of your jaw muscles and position of your lower jaw.

TMJ Treatment Options

The most common treatment types include exercises, trigger point therapy, laser therapy, orthotic (bite splint), braces, and/or porcelain crowns. She will work with you to customize your treatment to ensure your symptoms are lessened or taken away completely.

In less severe cases, Dr. Davidian recommends a custom-fit oral device, or orthotic, made of clear acrylic. This easy-to-wear orthotic fits over your bottom teeth. It is easy to speak with and not visible to others.
For patients with more severe TMJ Disorder, Dr. Tracy recommends a fixed orthotic be worn for several months to help eliminate symptoms and re-establish TMJ health. A fixed orthotic cannot be taken out like a removable orthotic, and it blends in with your natural teeth making it virtually invisible.

TMJ Symptoms:

The most common symptoms that a patient can develop are pain, followed by restricted mandibular movement, and noises from the temporomandibular joints (like pops or clicks) during jaw movement.  Other symptoms that most do not associate with TMD can be tinnitus (ringing of the ears), clogged or congested ears, headaches, migraines, face pain, neck pain, painful “healthy teeth”, grinding, clenching, fracturing of teeth or restorations, and shoulder pain.  It is important to understand that patients may experience one or all symptoms when suffering with TMD.  Temporomandibular joint dysfunction is a complex disorder that is thought to be caused by multiple factors.  Although TMD is not life-threatening, it can definitely effect a person’s quality of life due to the symptoms becoming chronic and difficult to manage

If you show any of these symptoms, a neuromuscular dentist, like Dr. Tracy Davidian, might be able to help.

  • Headaches
  • Jaw joint pain
  • Jaw joint clicking
  • Limited mouth opening
  • Ear congestions
  • Insomnia

  • Dizziness
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Loose teeth
  • Clenching or grinding
  • Hot & cold sensitivity of teeth
  • Facial pain
  • Sensitive teeth
  • Chewing difficulties
  • Neck pain
  • Postural problems
  • Tingling of the fingertips

Jaw Popping and Clicking:

Most patients associate a TMJ problem with noise.  “My jaw pops and clicks.  I know I have a TMJ problem”, is what most patients say to me.  In order to understand why you jaw pops and clicks, you must first understand what a “normal joint” looks like.

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Definition from Wikipedia: “The TMJ is a bilateral synovial articulation between the mandible and temporal bone.  The name of the joint is derived from the two bones which form the joint: the upper temporal bone which is part of the cranium (skull), and the lower jawbone or mandible.”

The TMJ has a disc between the condyle of the mandible and the cranium called the articular disc.  Defined by Wikipedia: “The disc is composed of fibrocartilaginous tissue that is postioned between the two bones that form the joint.  The TMJs are one of the few synovial joints in the human body with an articular disc…”

It is very important to understand that you can still have a temporomandibular disorder without sound (no popping and clicking)

Now, l will try and answer your question: “Why is my jaw popping and clicking?”

TMJ Disc Displacement with Reduction

TMJ Disc Displacement with Reduction

Definition:           Displacement of the TMJ articular disc when a persons back teeth are closed together and reduction (mandibular condyle back underneath the disc) of the disc on mouth opening.

Signs and Symptoms

1)      May click on mouth opening

2)      May click on mouth closing

3)      May or may not have pain

TMJ Disc Displacement with Reduction with Intermittent Locking

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Definition:           Displacement of the TMJ articular disc when in centric occlusion and reduction of the disc on the mouth opening with intermittent inability to reduce the disc.

Signs and Symptoms

1)      May click on mouth opening

2)      May click on mouth closing

3)      May or may not have pain

4)      Intermittent inability to open mouth normally

5)      Intermittent deflection of mandible to affected side (lower jaw shifts to one side when opening…it does not open and close straight)

TMJ Disc Displacement without Reduction – ACUTE

without reduction

Definition:           Displacement of the TMJ articular disc when in centric occlusion and in all movements of the mandible with restricted range of motion and deflection of the mandible to the effected side.

Signs and Symptoms:

1)      May click on mouth opening

2)      May click on mouth closing

3)      May or may not have pain

4)      May have reduced range of motion (how much your lower jaw can open and move side to side and forward)

5)      May have mandibular midline deflection (lower jaw moves to side that is injured when opened) to affected side

6)      May have crepitus (crunchy/scratchy sounds when opening and closing)

 

TMJ Disc Displacement without Reduction – CHRONIC

 

chronic

Definition:           Displacement of the TMJ articular disc when in centric occlusion (back teeth touching and together when closed) and in all movements of the mandible with or without restricted range of motion and deflection of the mandible to the affected side.

Signs and Symptoms:

1)      May click on mouth opening

2)      May click on mouth closing

3)      May or may not have pain

4)      May have reduced range of motion

5)      May have mandibular midline deflection to the affected side

6)      May have crepitus