TMJ: Jaw Joint Facts, Disorders, and Treatment Options

Our Highlands Ranch Dental Office can help diagnose and treat discomfort associated with the jaw joint referred to as the “TMJ”.

What is the TMJ?

The Temporomandibular Joint, commonly referred to as TMJ, is a very complex joint that connects the jawbone to the skull. This is the only joint in the body that depends on the surrounding muscles to determine it’s position. It moves in three ways; Back and forward, side to side, and up and down. Often the TMJ is referred to as the disorder TMJ disorder or TMD (Temporomandibular Disorder) when the joint malfunctions and it’s associated structures.

What Causes the Disorder or TMD?

When there is a misalignment of the jaw joint, neck, or supporting muscular structures the disorder occurs. One in every eight people in the US are currently affected by TMD. It is said to be four times more prevalent in women than in men. Genetics, Clenching and Grinding of teeth, Trauma, Stress, Disease such as arthritis and Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome are thought to be the main causes of TMD.

What are the Symptoms of the Disorder?

Common symptoms of TMD include but are not limited to:

1. Headache
2. Aching pain around ear
3. Joint locking/ “popping”
4. Pain or tenderness in the cheek and jaw
5. Difficult or pain on chewing

Red Flag Symptoms that need to be addressed immediately!

1. Dizziness
2. Sharp Facial Pain
3. Deep Ear Pain
4. Facial Swelling
5. Neck/ Upper Back/Face muscle pain and Spasm

How can our Highlands Ranch Dentists, Dr. DeLapp and Dr. Parsons treat your TMD?

Most commonly TMD can be effectively treated with a simple bite or occlusal splint. This is worn mostly during the night, but may be recommended to wear during daytime as well. Botox injections into the muscles control the jaw joint will help “relax” the muscle and place the jaw joint back into a more optimal position. Medications such as muscle relaxers may be indicated in cases of sudden onset or muscle spasms. These may be needed for a short term to help relax the muscles enough for other treatments. In very rare case, you may need surgery on the joint. This is done as a very last resort and in only very extreme cases.

Highlands Ranch Dentist

Want to know more about TMD or how you can manage your symptoms? Contact our Highlands Ranch dental office today at 303-694-9740 and schedule your appointment. Our family has been caring for dental patients in Highlands Ranch, Lone Tree, Centennial, Castle Pines, Parker, and the Denver Metro area since 1982.

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