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The TMJ (Temporomandibular joint) connects the jaw to the skull. TMD or Temporomandibular Disorder is the dysfunctions of these jaw muscles.
Due to its location in front of the ear and at the rear of the mouth, proper function of the TMJ is mainly dependent on the maintenance of healthy teeth!
Common symptoms: pain while chewing • clicking or popping of the joint • stuffiness or itching • loss of hearing and dizziness in the ear • grinding or clenching of teeth • and pain in the facial muscle • head and neck.
TMJ Disorder also results from: excessive stress; whiplash or other head, back or neck trauma; crooked teeth or a deep overbite; the loss of teeth; poor posture; the strain of dental surgery such as poorly fitted dental crowns and dentures. Sometimes a seemingly unrelated injury (shoulder, knee, hip, etc.) can trigger the TMJ.
Like any other joint, the TMJ is subject to inflammation and other chronic joint problems. Many of these issues may be caused by destructive bite habits like clenching or grinding. These actions cause pressure on the joint that can lead to inflammation and breakdown of the joint!
TMJ problems can be difficult to diagnose and treat properly due to its wide range of symptoms: both in location and severity. Symptoms can range from a slight clicking in the jaw with no pain to severe head and neck pain that cannot be relieved by medication.
Once diagnosed properly treatments include everything from simple placement of a nightguard, which prevents pressure on the joint to surgical intervention in more severe cases. Our dental health professional, Dr. Salartash in Del Ray, Alexandria is the person most able to diagnose this widely variable and very common issue.