TMJ is an acronym for Temporomandibular Joint Disorder. It is commonly referred to simply as TMJ syndrome and referrers to the inflammation of the Temporomandibular joint - where the skull bone connects to the jaw bone.
Severe pain can be experienced by patients who are experiencing TMJ symptoms and, since this condition involves numerous medical disciplines, there are a number of approaches to diagnosing as well as treating the disorder. When considered from the point of view of dentistry, TMJ can be brought on by a number of factors because the way in which your teeth make contact and interact have profound effect on the relationship and movement of the Temporomandibular joint.
Numerous conditions may irritate the TM joint over time, increasing the likelihood of inflammation and a subsequent disorder. Mal-alignment of teeth, excessive movements, grinding, and lack of overbite are all examples of conditions that can lead to TMJ pain. Joint diseases, such as osteoarthritis or pathologic lesions, are also common causes.
One preventative method, to avoid TMJ pain, is to keep your teeth in healthy condition ensuring they align correctly and are not putting unnecessary or incorrect force on the Temporomandibular Joint. How the occlusal surfaces make contact - the parts of the teeth that touch when you bite down - can have significant impact on the joint because the forces your jaw muscles are capable of exerting are significantly high.
Pain relief for TMJ can be accomplished through various drugs and pain killers. However results can vary from patient to patient. TMJ pain is more often than not a neurological condition and, as a result, difficult to cure with medicine.
Dental procedures can be used to correct issues with bite and alignment of the jaw structure. However, it is strongly advised that, prior to significant surgical procedures or irreversible changes to the teeth, para-functional jaw habits should be closely examined. This is to say:
"can the patient adjust and change their physical habits to reduce the strain they are imposing on the joint prior to going ahead with more aggressive procedures".
Options to adjust and fix any issues concerning bite or alignment include grinding teeth in order to correct occlusal adjustment, reconstructive dentistry, surgically inserting splints to move the jaw and, in extreme cases, the replacing of the joint with TMJ implants.