TMJ - What is That?
Among the most common, irritating and difficult to diagnose problems with head and neck pain are temporal mandibular joint problems, more commonly known as TMJ problems. The joint and related disc is located near the ear where the top of the mandible or lower jaw meets the upper jaw at the base of the skull.
Like all other joints and discs in the body, 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 general breakdown of the joint itself. In addition a poorly balanced bite scheme can over time lead to joint damage.
Chewing gum on a regular basis also increases wear on the joint. Symptoms can range from a slight clicking in the jaw with no pain to severe head and neck pain which is not relieved by medication.
Once diagnosed properly treatments include everything from the fabrication of a bite splint, which prevents pressure on the joint to surgical intervention in more severe cases. A dental health professional is the person most able to diagnose this widely variable and very common issue.« Go Back