Advanced Dental Cosmetic Center
Dr. J. Terry Alford and Associates
"Creating Naturally Beautiful Smiles"

TMJ (Tempro-Mandibular Joint Dysfunction)

The term TMJ by most peoples definition is a problem in the JAW JOINT.  TMJ actually means Tempero-Mandibular Joint.  We all have two TMJ's and they are very complicated joints.  It fact they are the most complicated joint in the human body.   Because everyone calls a problem with the joint TMJ then we will also refer to TMJ as a problem in this informational section.  

TMJ disorders can be caused by many things. An example of these causes are automobile accidents which create a side or rear impact causing the jaw direct trauma or the jaw  being opened beyond normal limits as with whip lash.  Additionally TMJ problems can be caused  by GRINDING EXCESSIVELY or BRUXXISM,  CLINCHING,  or developmental problems causing a bad bite.  Also loosing teeth or having dental procedures that create imbalance in the bite can cause serious TMJ problems if left untreated.

Most TMJ problems ( not all) are usually just annoying enough or just painful enough  that the patient will seek help before it becomes a debilitating disorder. However,  if you are reading this then you are interested enough that you may have a probelm or someone you know has a problem.  Most TMJ problems have symptoms such as pain in a joint or both joints when chewing, clicking on one or both sides with or without pain, crepetation (Crackling sound) when opening or closing, inability to fully open, or deviation of the jaw to one side when you open.  First determine the cause.  This is imperative for successful treatment.  The treatments for TMJ problems can be simple or very extensive and expensive.  This is the reason you shouldn't wait  if you feel you have a problem..

The primary problem in most TMJ cases is the position of the joint when the teeth are together.  Even if your teeth are balanced correctly, if the joint is being stressed when you are biting, then the TMJ problem will only continue to get worse over time.   The two TMJ joints (left and right) need to be in a stress free position when you are biting or functioning normally.  If the joints are swollen because of trauma from clinching or grinding or from blunt trauma from  an accident then the bite will not be balanced and continued trauma will exist until the "TRAUMA AND SWELLING " can be controlled.

The most common form of treatment for TMJ problems is an OCCLUSAL GUARD.  These appliances are given different names for different problems but they look nearly the same and only small changes in their functioning makes them different. Some other names are NIGHT GUARD, NTI,  BRUXISM APPLIANCE,  SPLINT, ETC.   Most appliances fit on the upper jaw, however there are some that fit on the lower jaw.  The best part of any TMJ treatment is that the appliance can not harm you in any way.  It prevents your teeth from coming together or Balances your BITE and prevents  more  chronic trauma to the TMJ  JOINTS.   Very often the teeth and bite will need to be balanced as your joints reduce their swelling.  This can be simple and take one appointment or complicated taking several appointment until the dynamics of function stabilizes and the joints return to normal with no swelling or inflammation. 

If you have TMJ, pain in the Joints, Clicking, Popping when you open or close or an Inability to chew effectively because you can't open correctly then please have an exam and determine the cause of your problem. Your Treatment may be very simple and the results could give you far greater comfort than you now have. Please Give US a CALL

 

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