TMJ stands for temporomandibular joint. Let’s break it down: Temporal, as in temple area of skull; mandibular as in mandible or lower jaw; and joint, as in the space where the head and jaw meet. This portion of the body is highly innervated with multiple muscles involved in the movement and limitation of those movements. The joints, muscles, and ligaments must work in harmony to provide a comfortable and stable chewing apparatus.
When this system develops muscular or joint problems it is referred to as Temporomandibular Disorder (TMD). This can tremendously effect a person’s physical and mental wellbeing and day-to-day function. These problems may arise from multiple sources including the chewing muscles (muscles of mastication), ligaments, as well as within the joints themselves. Understanding this system is vital to the diagnose of and appropriate treatment for those who suffer from TMD. Prosthodontist have advanced training in TMD management as well as tooth restorations and replacement in these situations.
Problems in the TMJ area can cause:
- Popping or clicking of the jaw
- Pain in the jaw muscles
- Trouble opening and closing the mouth
- Soreness in that area
The treatment of TMD will often be tailored to the specific problems a patient may be experiencing. Dr. Tindal believes in conservative and judicious therapy with a preference for reversible treatments. When patients have more severe issues, he will often work with other medical and dental specialists. The ultimate goal is to re-establish comfort, function, and stability. If you feel you may be experiencing symptoms of TMD call our office to schedule an evaluation.