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

Temporomandibular joint disorder, or TMJ/TMD for short, can cause you profound pain while affecting both your oral health and overall health. It is often a result of missing teeth or an uneven bite, causing discomfort or pain that can lead to a chronic condition.

TMJ and its symptoms

TMJ occurs when there is a dysfunction in the temporomandibular joint itself. Common consequences of this dysfunction include malocclusion (also known as a bad bite) or a jaw misalignment. Even the slightest change in your mouth, such as one single missing tooth, can result in a dysfunction of the jaw joints.

This dysfunction typically is caused by any of the following:

  • Missing teeth
  • Bruxism (clenching and grinding of teeth)
  • Broken or damaged teeth that interfere with occlusion

You may be wondering, what is the problem with a missing tooth? The truth is, even one single missing tooth can wreak havoc on your occlusion (bite), resulting in TMJ pain or worse. Think of it this way, it is similar to a car in which one wheel that is slightly out of alignment eventually affects how a car drives, and if ignored, will manifest into more problems that end up costing more money in repairs to your vehicle. Our mouths are the same way – just one missing tooth can result in teeth that drift out of alignment, loss of jawbone, and even damage to your existing teeth that all results in symptoms of TMJ,

Which include:

  • Teeth that are worn, chipped, cracked, or loose
  • Teeth that are crooked or out of alignment
  • Mouth pain that migrates to different areas
  • Facial pain
  • Lockjaw
  • Clicking, popping, or grating sounds in the jaw
  • Numbness in the extremities
  • Congested or stuffy ears
  • Ringing in ears
  • Frequent headaches of migraine-like intensity
  • And more!

The consequences of TMJ

Pain is a common symptom of TMJ. This may manifest as neck pain, shoulder pain, or back pain. It also could result in headaches of migraine-like intensity. If you have been diagnosed with migraines but do not respond to standard treatments, then TMJ could be the cause. This is because of the proximity of the temporomandibular joint to the trigeminal nerve, which carries more sensory input than any other neural pathway—even the spinal cord.

Since the effects of TMJ are so far-reaching, it is important to undergo a TMJ evaluation in Choto if you experience jaw pain or chronic head and neck pain.

Treatment for TMJ in Knoxville

No medical professional is better qualified to diagnose and treat TMJ than a neuromuscular dentist. Neuromuscular dentistry is a specialized field that requires additional education and training to study alignment of bite, jaw alignment, and the specific disorder of TMJ.

At Choto Family Dentistry, we can treat TMJ through the use of a mandibular advancement device, an oral appliance that places the lower jaw forward into the ideal resting position. Gradually, this device restores the proper alignment of your jaw and bite, relieving TMJ and its associated symptoms.

If you think you have TMJ or you have been diagnosed with the disorder by another medical professional, we can help. Call our office at (865) 409-5077 to schedule a consultation.

Choto Family Dentistry welcomes patients of Knoxville, Tennessee, and the communities of Choto and Northshore.