What Is TMJ?
TMJ occurs due to problems with the temporomandibular joint—your jaw joint. It acts like a sliding hinge and allows your jaw to open, close, and move forward and side to side. The temporomandibular joints sit on either side of your head, just below your ears, and running through it is your largest cranial nerve, the trigeminal nerve. This joint is highly complex and can become damaged or misaligned by improper bite mechanics. This can happen through:
- Teeth grinding
- Broken or worn down teeth
- Improperly placed tooth restorations
- Trauma to the jaw
- Missing teeth
Your jaw joint can become stressed and pushed out of place due to overused jaw muscles, slip in and out of place because of a structural problem, or joint inflammation can pull on your ligaments and nerves that run through the joint. TMJ can occur for all types of reasons, and the treatment depends on the root cause. Treatment can look different for everyone. In a thorough examination, Dr. Clancy can help pinpoint the cause or causes of your TMJ and recommend a long-term treatment plan to help alleviate your pain.
TMJ symptoms can be highly varied, leading to misdiagnosis since not all signs are localized to the jaw. Common symptoms of TMJ include:
- Chronic headaches or migraines
- Jaw popping, clicking or grinding
- Neck and shoulder pain
- Ringing in the ears
- Eye pressure
- Sinus problems
Many people suffering from TMJ turn to chiropractic, painkillers, and jaw stretches to relieve the pain, which can be debilitating in some cases. While these treatments may work temporarily, they do not address the root cause of your symptoms and can’t provide long-term relief. Working with a Boston neuromuscular dentist to find the proper alignment of your jaw is the best way to relieve symptoms permanently.
Suffering from TMJ symptoms can decrease your quality of life and lead to problems getting enough sleep or nutrition due to the pain. In addition, taking too many painkillers is bad for your overall health and can lead to addiction. Let us help you find a long-term treatment and improve your quality of life.