Jaw Alignment - TMD and TMJ
The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is the joint that connects the lower jaw (mandible) to the skull (temporal bone). The lower jaw is connected to the skull by a number of muscles and ligaments.
The TMJ is like a ball and socket. For normal joint function, a piece of cartilage called an articular disc is between the two bones, to act as a cushion or shock absorber. The articular disc allows the joint to move smoothly.
What is TMD?
When your TMJ is not functioning normally, it’s referred to as Temporomandibular Disorder (TMD).
For optimal health and wellbeing, your teeth and jaws need to work in an intricate balance. The position of your teeth can affect the position of your jaw joints. If have a deep overbite, your lower jaw is too far back, you have a narrow upper arch, your upper front teeth are crooked and tipped backwards, or you have another malocclusion, it can cause your jaw to dislocate.
When your articular disc in your TMJ is displaced, it can cause your jaw to make various clicking and popping noises. If you experience pain or hear noise when opening and closing your jaw, it’s a possible indication the jaw joints have dislocated. This dislocation can cause wear to the joint, and strain on the muscles and ligaments.
These can lead to difficulty opening and closing your jaw, pain when chewing or talking, headaches, facial and neck pain, and a variety of other side effects.
Our dentists do not treat your mouth as a separate entity, but take a holistic approach, recognizing the correlation between oral and overall health. They work with you to determine the best course of action to alleviate pain, to reverse the problem, or prevent it from getting more severe. They may advise physiotherapy, a mouth appliance, botox injections, basic restorative treatment, or a combination of approaches to help you function normally again. If necessary, they can refer you to a specialist.
Call our Richmond dentist office today to set up a consultation appointment if you are suffering with jaw pain and we’ll see which treatments, or combination of treatments, will help you.