The temporomandibular joint (TMJ), or the jaw joint, is a unique part of the body. Breakdown or stress in the joint can cause a number of problems, collectively called TMD. Temporomandibular joint disorders are a variety of problems related to the complex jaw joint and surrounding muscles. Joint disorders are often accompanied by discomfort or pain in the head and neck, and discomfort or sounds in the joint. Early detection and treatment are essential in allaying more serious conditions. Symptoms of TMD can include: sensitive teeth, loose teeth, chipped or worn teeth, noises in the joint (clicking, crackling, popping), difficulty opening or closing, locking open, muscle pain and fatigue, headaches and migraines, tinnitus, postural vertigo.
Treatment options range from maintenance and prevention to more complex coordination of the bite and the jaw joint. In cases of severe breakdown of the teeth and dysfunction of the jaws, special consideration is given to the balance of the jaws, muscles, and teeth. The major cause of inordinate wear, broken teeth, and tension headaches associated with clenching and grinding teeth is jaws out of alignment with the teeth. Through a process that results in a stable jaw position, front teeth that guide the jaw into a stable bite, and back teeth that support that bite, the signs and symptoms of tooth destruction disappear. Whether we build restorations into a worn system or correct the system first is a choice you’ll be asked to make when considering extensive treatment.