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Cosmetic Dentistry

What is Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction?

Our not so friendly friend, Temporomandibular (tem-puh-roe-man-DIB-u-lur) Joint Dysfunction goes by a couple of names.

In layman’s terms, it’s also known as TMJ or TMJ syndrome. Doctors call it TMD or Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction which encompasses anything from sore jaw muscles to a damaged joint itself.

But what it is? The joint, the temporomandibular joint, is the joint on each side of the head that connects the jaw bone to the skull. This joint is essential for the daily functions of chewing, talking, yawning, or even making silly faces at your kiddos! When there’s an issue of misalignment at that joint, causing pain, soreness, or maybe severe headaches, then there’s often a diagnosis of TMJ.

According to WebMD, there are many contributing factors to TMJ, but there is no one main cause, except in the case of direct trauma. Some possible sources of the problem include things such as good ol’ genetics, teeth grinding, arthritis in the joint, or whiplash/trauma injuries! Clicking both WebMD and Mayo Clinic will give lists that will be helpful to learn more about the causes of TMJ.

Here are some places to begin to see if TMJ might be what’s causing you daily discomfort!

Symptoms of TMJ Dysfunction from the Mayo Clinic

Signs and symptoms of TMJ disorders may include:

  • Pain or tenderness of your jaw
  • Pain in one or both of the temporomandibular joints
  • Aching pain in and around your ear
  • Difficulty chewing or pain while chewing
  • Aching facial pain
  • Locking of the joint, making it difficult to open or close your mouth”
  • Headache pain, especially around your temples
  • Migraines

TMJ disorders can also cause a clicking sound or grating sensation when you open your mouth or chew. But if there’s no pain or limitation of movement associated with your jaw clicking, you probably don’t need treatment for a TMJ disorder.

Treatment for TMJ Dysfunction

Treatment for TMJ depends on the type of dysfunction. There are several options including mouthpieces or splints, medicines such as anti-inflammatories or muscle relaxers, orthodontics, restorative dental treatment such as crowns and bridges, physical therapy, acupuncture, among others.

Fortunately, our very own, Dr. Lalonde 3 has 35 years of experience treating TMJ and has studied with several world-recognized experts at Cleveland Clinic, University of Florida, Ohio State University, among others. He’d be happy to talk to you about your individual needs and walk with you every step of the way to the pain recovery.

Feel free to find more information on his website about his credentials, recommendations, and passion to help people! We hope to see you soon.