TMJ- Temporomandibular Joint
TMJ- Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) is the hinge joint that connects the lower jaw (mandible) to the temporal bone of the skull, which is immediately in front of the ear on each side of your head. The joints are flexible, allowing the jaw to move smoothly up and down and side to side and enabling you to talk, chew, and yawn. Muscles attached to and surrounding the jaw joint control the position and movement of the jaw.
Injury to the jaw, temporomandibularjoint, or muscles of the head and neck – such as from a heavy blow or whiplash– can cause TMD (temporomandibular disorder). Other possible causes include:
Grinding or clenching (also known as bruxism) the teeth, which puts a lot of pressure on the TMJ
Dislocation of the soft cushion or disc between the ball and socket
Presence of osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis in the TMJ
Stress, which can cause a person to tighten facial and jaw muscles or clench the teeth
Treatment - Wear of a splint
Splints are clear plastic mouthpieces that fit over the upper teeth. They prevent the upper and lower teeth from coming together, lessening the effects of clenching or grinding the teeth. They also correct the bite by positioning the teeth in their most correct and least traumatic position. The splint is mainly worn at night. Splints are available in 3 different sizes. (1) Two teeth (covering the two top central teeth), (2) Six teeth (covering the first six top teeth) and a full arch splint (covering all the top teeth). Our dentists will discuss with you what type of appliance you may need.