Temporomandibular joint disorder is a medical term for a rather common problem. The joints in question are responsible for the movement of your jaws. All joints are subject to pain and fatigue, but the TM joints are located in an area that allows pain involving them to trigger pain throughout your head and neck. Located on the sides of your head just below your ears, these joints do a lot of work from the moment you are born, and most people experience a natural wearing down of the tissue that protects them. This is temporomandibular joint disorder, called TMJ for short.
Symptoms of TMJ disorder are vast, and some can be experienced far from the source of the problem. Because the sensations in your face are caused by a complex nerve system, signals can get mixed, causing you to feel pain or sensations like headache or even backache when the problem is actually in your jaws. Headache is one of the most common symptoms of TMJ disorder, with other common symptoms including ringing in the ears, vision problems like floaters and neck or shoulder pain.
Many times doctors will prescribe pain medications to relieve symptoms of TMJ, or offer relaxation techniques to ease tension and reduce pain. While these things can help, they don’t get to the root of the problem. TMJ dentistry tackles the problem of jaw positioning with the use of an oral appliance. The appliance is custom designed for each patient to fit perfectly, and while wearing it, the jaws are guided into the optimum position for relaxation and the relief of stress. This can greatly reduce the symptoms of TMJ disorder, sometimes without the need for additional pain medications.
In some cases, permanent change to the teeth could provide a more permanent solution to TMJ symptoms. A bad bite can continually put pressure on the jaws and exacerbate symptoms of TMJ disorder, so orthodontic treatment to correct the bite and make the teeth come together correctly can help.
Dentists like Dr. Omar Sattout know the workings of the mouth and jaws very well, and are ideally suited to treat this common disorder of the jaw joints. Pain management techniques can help to alleviate TMJ symptoms, but the problem cannot truly be solved until the root of the problem is discovered. A dental exam and consultation with Dr. Sattout could be the first step in solving your problem of chronic headaches, face pain or other facial, head and neck symptoms.
Call Kettleman Dental Care in Lodi now to set up an appointment if you are experiencing symptoms of TMJ disorder or if you would like to learn more about TMJ dentistry.