The medical name for the jaw joint is the temporomandibular joint (often shortened to TMJ)- it is formed by the temporal bone of the skull and the mandible bone of the jaw. Temporomandibular Joint Disorder, or TMD, is any condition of pain or dysfunction in this joint. TMD affects millions of Americans. Symptoms can include:
- Pain in the jaw joint area, face, or sometimes neck
- Pain or stiffness when chewing or difficulty chewing or speaking
- Popping, clicking, or grating noises when chewing, speaking, or opening and closing the mouth
- Limited range of motion or locking of the jaw
- Changes in occlusion (the way the teeth fit together when closed)
- Aching and pain around the ears
The exact cause of TMD is not always clear, but many factors can be at work to cause or contribute to the above set of symptoms. Bruxism, clenching, and other stress habits of the jaw, jaw injury or dislocation, arthritis, and improper occlusion are all thought to contribute to or exacerbate TMD.
TMD symptoms can be painful and have an adverse effect on your quality of life. Treatment with an oral TMD appliance that helps to re-position the jaw and relieve the malfunction in the joint can improve or completely eliminate symptoms.
Dr Vancil is not only experienced with treating TMD in patients but takes a special interest in this often-overlooked but common and painful condition. If you experience any of the TMD symptoms listed above, please call us at Mall of Georgia Dentistry- we’d love to help you restore the comfort and function of your jaw joint and give you more reason to smile!