TMJ & Facial Pain
TMJ stands for temporal-mandibular joint. Temporal, as in temple area of skull; mandibular as in mandible, or lower jaw; joint as in it's where the head and jaw meet. Problems in this joint may be caused by a misalignment of the teeth, trauma, or excess muscle tension. Aside from the two bones that meet there, cartilage buffers them and five muscles are involved in the area. If something goes wrong a good deal of trouble can result.
Problems in this area can cause:
- Trouble/soreness in opening and closing the mouth
- Clicking or popping of the jaw
- Pain in the jaw muscles
- Soreness in the area, sometimes extending to the face
Once diagnosed, the treatment goal is always non-invasive, therapeutic rehabilitation instead of surgery. The treatment options vary depending on the condition and the individual patient’s needs and desired results and most commonly includes short term wear of customized positioned orthotic appliances (not splints) in the mouth during the day and/or the night. Some plans will involve physical medicine treatments to enhance the healing process and provide pain relief during rehabilitation.