questions about tmj

questions about tmjQuestions about TMJ

Serving Choto, Northshore, and surrounding areas of Knoxville, TN

The temporomandibular joint is small, but if it encounters any sort of dysfunction, it can have a profound negative effect on your oral health, overall health, and your quality of life. Any issue that affects the function of the joint is referred to as temporomandibular joint disorder, or TMJ/TMD for short.

If you or a member of your family has been diagnosed with this disorder, here is some valuable information.

What causes TMJ/TMD?

  • A misaligned bite due to genetics, development, tooth structure or missing teeth
  • An injury to the jaw, the temporomandibular joint itself, or the muscles of the head and neck
  • Bruxism, aka teeth grinding or clenching
  • Arthritis originating from the temporomandibular joint
  • Stress

What are the symptoms and effects of TMJ?

Pain is one of the most common symptoms of TMJ; this is because the temporomandibular joint itself is located near the trigeminal nerve, which transmits more sensory information than any other neural pathway. This pain could occur in the teeth, seemingly migrating to different locations in the mouth with no rhyme or reason. An advanced case of TMJ could also lead to pain in the face, jaw, neck, shoulders, and even the back. This pain often can be debilitating, impairing your ability to function on a daily level.

TMJ also can cause the following issues:

  • Clicking or popping sound in the jaw, or locking jaw
  • Difficulty chewing
  • Malocclusion, also known as bad bite
  • Ringing or congestion in the ears
  • Headaches of migraine-like intensity
  • Tooth pain
  • Damaged teeth or dental restorations

You can find a full list of symptoms by clicking here.

How do I know if I have TMJ?

The best way to determine a case of TMJ is by seeking the care of a neuromuscular dentist in Choto. Neuromuscular dentistry is a specialization of the dental field that entails focusing on the alignment of the bite and jaw. A neuromuscular dentist has special additional training. No other type of medical professional is better qualified to diagnose and treat TMJ. However, if you experience any one of the symptoms listed above, you may have TMJ, and seeking treatment is important. Ignoring the problem will not solve anything.

How is TMJ treated?

Treatment will vary, depending on your case of TMJ and its severity. However, your family dentist in Knoxville prefers to treat mild to moderate cases of TMJ with the use of oral appliance therapy. We will prescribe a custom-made oral appliance that will fit securely in the mouth. When worn, this appliance will restore the proper alignment of your bite and jaw, resolving TMJ and any associated symptoms or issues. Once we find the optimal alignment for your bite, we can move forward with a more permanent solution. In some severe cases, this may entail surgery.

TMJ Treatment in Knoxville

If you want to learn more about our neuromuscular program or TMJ treatment, contact Choto Family Dentistry by calling (865) 409-5077 to schedule a consultation. We welcome patients of Knoxville, Tennessee, and the communities of Choto and Northshore.