TMJ – Temporomandibular Joint Disorder

Las Vegas Dentistry: TMJ

Your smile is affected by many different facets including a condition known as TMJ (temporomandibular joint disorder). This disorder can involve several aspects that make it quite uncomfortable to have. TMJ is also referred to as TMJD or TMD.

What is Temporomandibular Joint Disorder?

Temporomandibular joint disorder is a condition that can affect one or both sides of the head. It affects the temporomandibular joint, the jaw muscles, and the nerves located there. It leads to pain not only in the jaw, but also in the neck, head, and face. This pain can vary in severity from mild to severe. It can also be constant or intermittent. TMJ is a condition that is known to last for many years. It can even stop suddenly only to recur several months or years later during periods in which the patient is experiencing high levels of stress.

What Are the Primary Categories of TMJ?

Three different and distinct categories of temporomandibular joint disorder have been identified. They include myofacial pain, arthritis, and internal derangement. A person can have all three of these conditions at the same time, experience a combination of them, or suffer with only one of the three types.

Myofacial pain causes discomfort and/or pain in the muscles of the jaw that cause movement. It is the most common of the three TMJ conditions.

TMJ pain can lead to a degenerative or inflammatory state of being for the joints. Eventually, this can lead to arthritis in the jaw.

In some cases, TMJ is caused by an injury that occurs to the condyle or lower, hinge-like portion of the jaw. It is also associated with a dislocated jaw or a displaced disc within the joint of the jaw. This particular TMJ condition is known as internal derangement.

What Are the Treatments for TMJ?

Correcting TMJ is possible. The steps taken to do so vary according to the severity of your condition. It is important that you consult with a dental specialist experienced in treating TMJ disorders.

Traditional treatments for TMJ typically involve bite correction strategies. Depending on the extent of your problem, the dentist may suggest one or more of the following treatments: tooth restoration, orthodontic strategy, or appliance therapy.

Surgical treatments are considered final measures and are only considered after all other strategies have been tried. Surgery for TMJ takes place with general anesthesia and involves the cleansing of the joint, the removal of existing adhesions, and a repositioning of the disc located in the hinge of the joint.

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