As a result of problems with the jaw and surrounding facial muscles, many people cannot control chewing and the movement of their jaws at night. They have a painful condition called temporomandibular dysfunction. This is sometimes called TMJ, temporomandibular joint. The TMJ is the actual joint. The painful condition is called temporomandibular Dysfunction. This condition encompasses the (TMJ) joint, muscles, teeth, and supporting tissues.
The TMJ acts as a hinge between the lower jaw and the skull. While TMJs are normally flexible, which allows for smooth up-and-down and side-to-side movements, a dysfunction in the joint can cause pain and inhibit jaw movements.
Possible Causes of TM Dysfunction
While the cause is unclear, many orthodontists believe problems arise with the muscles of the jaw or with the parts of the actual joint. Possible causes include the following:
- Grinding or clenching teeth
- Dislocation of the cushion between ball and socket of the jaw
- Arthritis in the TMJ
- Stress that causes a person to tighten jaw muscles or to clench teeth
- Trauma such as a heavy blow or whiplash
Symptoms of TM Dysfunction
Most common between the ages of 15 to 45, a TM dysfunction can affect people in the following manner:
- Limits jaw movement
- Inhibits ability to change from either an open- or closed-mouth position
- Produces painful clicking, popping or grating in the jaw
- Difficulty chewing
- Aches in your teeth, head, neck or ears
Treating TM Dysfunction with orthodontics
Undergoing corrective dental treatment can correct a bite problem. When your teeth are not in proper alignment, the jaw automatically shifts to a new position to compensate for the misalignment of the teeth. As an orthodontic treatment straightens the teeth, the TMJ will shift to an optimal alignment and the symptoms should go away.
Concerned about TM Dysfunction?
If you have experienced symptoms of TM dysfunction and you would like to talk about treatment options, allow Dr. Roehm and Dr. Stigall at Midwest Orthodontic Associates to help. Whether you’re in Peoria, Dunlap, East Peoria, Metamora or Washington, call us at 309-691-9665 or contact us online today.