More than 15 percent of American adults suffer from chronic facial pain, such as jaw pain, headaches or earaches. The source of these aches and pains may be related to one or both of the temporomandibular (TM) joints. Located on each side of the head, these joints work together, with a complex system of muscles, ligaments, discs and bones, to make different movements for chewing and speaking.
TMJ is short for “temporomandibular joint” and TMD is short for “temporomandibular disorder”. These are among the most complex joints of the entire body. Because the TMJ is located in an intricate area of teeth, muscles and nerves, disorders of the TMJ may cause patients to experience a range of discomforts throughout the entire body. Not only can symptoms of TMJ disorder be uncomfortable, they can be downright painful.
TMJ disorders are typically the result of malocclusion, also known as a misaligned bite. Malocclusion happens when the upper and lower teeth do not close together correctly and cannot support the facial muscles in common functions like speaking, chewing or swallowing. This puts stress on the muscles of the face resulting in pain in areas such as the face, head, neck, shoulders, and upper or lower back.
In certain cases, a non-invasive splint will relieve your TMJ symptoms and decrease your pain. However if your symptoms persist, other options are available. Neuromuscular dentistry involves restoring your occlusion or bite back into a reproducible position, thus relieving the symptoms of TMJ. It also determines that proper tooth contact and force are being evenly distributed along the chewing surface. If you are suffering from the debilitating symptoms of a disorder of the TMJ, Dr. Fong can help. Contact our office to schedule your TMJ evaluation.