Many people suffer from Temporomandibular Joint pain or Temporomandibular Dysfunction. Commonly known as TMJ or TMD, this problem can often be debilitating and painful. Your lower jaw is a hinge that is similar to other ball-and-socket joints in the body except this joint is football-shaped. Additionally, your jaw is designed to open and close thousands of times per day. The jaw opens and closes every time you swallow, chew, speak and yawn. Pain in or around the joint is not normal. Pain may occur for several reasons including malocclusion (bite is off), trauma, habits, disease, etc. Symptoms include:
- Pain upon opening
- Inability to open wide or move from side to side comfortably
- Neck and shoulder pain
- Pain or stuffiness in the ears
- Ringing in the ears
- Clenching, night grinding
- Chronic fatigue
- Noise, grating or popping in joint
- Chronic temporal or occipital headaches
- Swelling on the sides of the face
- Muscle spasms in the jaw area
- A change in the alignment of top and bottom teeth
- Locked jaw
Treatment of these problems can be complicated. The cause can often be multi-factorial. Successful treatment may involve other professionals; Physiotherapists, Chiropractors, Massage Therapists, Cranio-mandibular specialists, and Physicians.
Meaningful treatment begins with proper diagnosis. Dr. Tigani will do a thorough evaluation of your problem to determine the best way that he can help and the appropriate therapy.
Please remember, there is no such thing as a specialist in TMD as recognized by the American Dental Association. However, orthodontists are well trained in their post-doctoral residencies to recognize the problem and treat it if possible or apply the appropriate multifactorial therapy with other medical professionals.