Tempromandibular Joint Disorder (TMJ)

Have you experienced clicking or soreness of the jaw, headaches, or locking of the jaw?  For some people these problems are infrequent, short-term, and mild. For others, this may be a frequent, constant problem that can be very painful and cause permanent damage on teeth or the joint. Our office is the Salt Lake City TMJ office of choice! We treat all of our patients with the best technology, excellent care, and unique custom therapy to achieve the best results possible. Each of our patients have had quick relief from pain and are treated for long-term success. Our TMJ Salt Lake City dental office is located downtown with easy access to I-15. Call our office today for a FREE CONSULTATION and let us rid you of pain for a better, happier life!

What is TMJD?

Tempromandibular Joint Disorder, also known as TMJ or TMD, is a term for inflammation of the Tempromandibular Joint. The Tempromandibular Joint connects the lower jaw to the skull and can be located as an indentation directly in front of the ear.  This disorder can range from mild to acute and can have several symptoms such as headaches, jaw stiffness, pain in opening or closing the mouth, or locking of the jaw. This can be caused by many things including arthritis, trauma, dislocation on the jaw, or malocclusion due to severe dental decay. 

TMJD can also have a neuromuscular affect on your body. To understand this, simply imagine that your body is filled with interconnecting wires that stem from your spinal cord.  Nerves and muscles associated with the Tempromandibular Joint connect with nerves through your entire face and down your neck. These connections are often the reason people with TMJD can have severe headaches and very sore neck and shoulder muscles.  

What are the Symptoms of TMJD?

Headaches can be unbearable and if you suffer from frequent, long-lasting tension headaches or migrane headaches, you may have TMJ disorder. Other common symptoms experienced are jaw, ear or facial pain and even decreased hearing.  Clicking or popping of the jaw and neck, as well as shoulder pain, are the frequent effects of TMJ disorder. Even though TMJ is a common disorder, many people are unaware that they have this condition and continue enduring the pain.

What are the Treatment Options?

Depending on the cause of the disorder, there are several options for pain relief and long-lasting solutions. 

Reconstructive Dentistry:

Malocclusion means that your upper and lower teeth do not close together in the correct way and are misaligned, causing strain on muscles and ligaments. If the disorder is due to a lack of proper occlusion, or incorrect biting due to tooth decay or grinding, there are two options available. The first is the use of orthodontics which can straighten teeth and place them in their proper occlusal bite to relieve strain on the jaw muscles.  The second option is Reconstructive dentistry. This is a permanent option and is rarely used because it involves replacing dental fillings or placing new crowns to align the teeth in the proper bite and relieve pain.

Repositioning of the Jaw:

If the disorder is due to the joint being out of socket, the pain can originate from very strained, if not damaged, muscles, ligaments, or bone.  One option to correct this is called Surgical Repositioning of the Jaw.  A simpler solution is the Relocation of the Jaw through Tensing therapy, Stretching of the jaw muscles, or careful manipulation to help aid the correct joint position.

Medication and Therapy:

Just like in all the body’s joints, cartilage and ligaments cushion the joint as in fits correctly in the socket of the skull. Should this cartilage be aggravated or inflamed it can be painful to move the jaw and can cause significant headaches. Arthritis can affect the Tempromandibular Joint by causing inflammation, soreness, stiffness of the joint, and pain. This is often treated with anti-inflammatory medication and Tensing Therapy to calm the muscles around the joint and allow for healing to occur.

The BEST Permanent Solution: Tensing Therapy and Orthodic Splint:

In TMJD the muscles are unbalanced and cause strain on the jaw, face, and neck. The use of K7 technology in our Salt Lake City dental office lets us know where the strain is originating from and how to adjust the jaw for optimal balance and relaxation. Our Dental Office uses Mandibular repositioning splints which move the jaw, ligaments and muscles into a new position. In all our patients we see marked improvements with this simple solution. This Orthodic Splint is similar in appearance to a retainer or nightguard and are custom-made according to the necessary bite and jaw placement. This Orthodic therapy requires that you wear the unobtrusive Orthodic splint during the day and night.

Our Salt Lake City dental office also uses Tensing therapy, which is an electric muscle therapy to relax the jaw, face, and neck muscles to ease pain. The combination of the splint and Tensing has awarded us with excellent success and very happy patients! Every person responds differently to Orthodic therapy, however the vast majority of patients find their symptoms instantly decreased.

If you suffer from any of these symptoms or would like more information about our office and your treatment options check out our website or call us at 801-355-2202. Our Salt Lake City dental office is open Monday – Friday 7am – 4pm. We look forward to helping you achieve a pain-free, happier life!

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