TMJ Disorders

The Temporomandibular Joint or TMJ is located in front of your ear where the skull and lower jaw meet. This joint allows movement of the lower jaw, and enables your top teeth to meet with your bottom teeth. Similar to other joints in your body, the TMJ has a cartilage component as well as various muscle and ligament attachments.


TMJ disorders develop for many reasons. Trauma to your jaw is a common cause as well as clenching or grinding your teeth. Symptoms include painful clicking or popping of the joint when opening or closing your mouth, sore jaw muscles when awakening, frequent headaches or pain in the TMJ area.


Treatment begins with a clinical and x-ray examination. Drs. Dachille, Laing and Paladino will determine if your problem is in the joint, or the muscles and ligaments, which move the joint. Treatment involves a team approach and may include your dentist, orthodontist, physical therapist and oral surgeon. Most often, conservative methods yield the best results. Often, a bite guard is all that is needed to solve your problem. Other times a steroid injection into the joint will relieve pain and inflammation. Surgery of the TMJ is rarely needed.


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