What Is TMJ Syndrome?
The temporomandibular joint is located on each side of your head in front of your ears, where your lower jawbone meets your skull. This joint combines a hinge action with sliding motions and allows you to talk, chew and yawn. TMJ disorders can cause severe tenderness and pain. TMJ can lead to many different types of problems; including arthritis, jaw injury, or muscle fatigue from clenching or grinding your teeth.
In most cases, the pain and discomfort associated with TMJ disorders can be alleviated with self-managed care or non-surgical treatments. Severe TMJ disorders may need to be treated with dental or surgical interventions.
What hurts if I have TMJ Syndrome?
Signs and symptoms of TMJ disorders may include:
Pain or tenderness of your jaw
Aching pain in and around your ear
Difficulty chewing or discomfort while chewing
Aching facial pain
Locking of the joint, making it difficult to open or close your mouth
An uneven bite, because one or more teeth are making premature contact
TMJ disorders can also cause a clicking sound or grating sensation when you open your mouth or chew
Causes Of TMJ Syndrome
TMJ disorders can occur if:
The disk erodes or moves out of its proper alignment
The joint’s cartilage is damaged by arthritis
The joint is damaged by a blow or other impact
The muscles that stabilize the joint become fatigued from overwork, which can happen if you habitually clench or grind your teeth
In many cases, however, the cause of TMJ disorders isn’t clear.
Am I At Risk Of TMJ Syndrome?
Factors that have been associated with TMJ disorders include:
Sex and age. TMJ disorders most commonly occur in women between the ages of 30 and 50.
Jaw deformity. You may be more likely to develop a TMJ disorder if you were born with a deformity of your facial bones that affects how your jaw works or how your teeth come together.
Other diseases. TMJ disorders occur more often in people who have rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome or sleep disorders.
Preparing for your appointment with your doctor about TMJ Syndrome
You may want to prepare a list that answers the following questions:
What type of symptoms are you experiencing?
When did your symptoms start?
Does any activity seem to trigger the pain?
Does your jaw click or pop when you move it?
Do you have problems sleeping?
Is your life very stressful?
What to expect at the doctor for TMJ Syndrome:
During the physical exam, we will probably:
Listen to and feel your jaw when you open and close your mouth
Observe the range of motion in your jaw
Examine your bite to check for abnormalities in the alignment of the jaws
Check for high filling teeth displaced due to earlier loss of other teeth or certain inherited characteristics that can cause misalignment of your jaw
Examine your teeth for wear patterns that would indicate chronic grinding
Press on areas around your jaw to identify sites of pain or discomfort
Ask questions about your level of stress or anxiety and how you’re coping
Dr. Mangold’s Laser Treatment Protocol for TMJ
The Class IV LightForce Laser is at the heart of our treatment program. It provides a safe, effective, non-invasive, painless solution for Jaw pain and injury. Patients respond exceptionally well to treatments and usually notice significant pain relief after just a few treatments. Dr. Mangold’s program utilizes the latest FDA Cleared Lasers, and combines them with other therapies to help reduce the pain, strengthen the muscles and increase range of motion. Most importantly these treatments help reduce inflammation/swelling, which helps improve overall function. Dr. Mangold has been treating sports injuries for over 30 years and has been helping people suffering from various health conditions during that time. Patients seek his advice and care if they want to avoid surgery if at all possible and help you return to all the activities you enjoy.