TMJ stands for the temporomandibular joint, which is the joint that connects the jawbone (the mandible) to the skull (the temporal bone). This joint is easily identified by placing a finger in the spot just shy of the ears. If you open your mouth, you can feel the TMJ contracting. The sliding action of this joint enables you to chew your food, speak, and even yawn. In addition to the bones connecting the joint, there are also a number of muscles that work together to allow the TMJ to function.
The very complex hinge and sliding action of the TMJ makes it one of the most complicated joints in the body. This is why, when problems arise in the TMJ, it’s best to see an experienced professional like Monica Muñoz, DDS who can accurately detect and treat the underlying issue.
There is a wide range of disorders and conditions affecting the TMJ. Excessive tension in the surrounding muscles, trauma to the joint, or misaligned teeth are all potential causes of pain and discomfort in the TMJ. People who suffer from TMJ disorders may experience:
If you are having any of the above symptoms, it’s vital that you are evaluated by your dentist immediately to prevent further damage or deterioration of teeth, bone, and/or muscle tissue.
Usually, problems in the TMJ are transient and go away on their own. Still, it’s necessary to see an expert such as Dr. Muñoz who can assess and monitor your TMJ condition to ensure that it does not worsen.
Treatments may include extracting teeth, filling gaps between teeth, adjusting the bite, and moving teeth among others. You may be prescribed medications, require the use of an oral splint or mouth guard, and be taught mouth exercises to help you improve your condition.
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