The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) connects your jawbone to your skull. There’s one joint on each side of the jaw, and it acts like a “sliding hinge”. TMJ disorder causes pain in the muscles that control jaw movement.
This is also known as temporomandibular disorder (TMD). This condition will require a diagnosis from your St. Louis doctor or dentist. In fact, they can help pinpoint the root cause of your TMJ issues to place you on a proper treatment plan.
Signs and Symptoms Of TMJ
Firstly, this condition has a variety of signs and symptoms. Therefore, it can be challenging to diagnose at times.
Some common TMJ symptoms include:
- Head and neck muscle tension
- Severely worn teeth
- Sore jaws
- Head, shoulder, or neck pain
- Shoulder tightness
- Tingling in the fingers
- Pain behind the eyes
- Cold-sensitive teeth
- Ringing in the ears, ear pain, or vertigo
When you have unstable joints or imbalances in your bite, your body addresses these by overcorrecting them. This can result in grinding or clenching your teeth, muscle fatigue, or any other above signs of TMJ. Therefore, at times, the pain radiates through your ears and head. Discomfort can also seep into your neck and then shoulders.
Getting A Proper TMJ Diagnosis
If you think you may have TMJ, it’s important to schedule a visit with your St. Louis dentist. First off, they will ask you a wide variety of questions about your teeth and jaw. Secondly, your dentist might want to see your jaw in action. This is to take a closer look at the muscles in this area. Another step is placing pressure on the jaw joints during the appointment. This is to test their functionality and health levels.
In addition, digital x-rays take a closer look at your neck, head, and jaw joints. Some state-of-the-art technology dentists use for a TMJ diagnosis, include:
Using advanced 3D x-rays, CBCT scans offer a complete picture for dentists trying to diagnose TMJ. It shows the entire neck and head area. This includes your spine, jaw joints, and teeth.
Second on this list, EMGs measure your head and neck muscle activity. The focus is muscle stimulation, which helps determine the TMJ treatment to move forward with.
Sonography/Joint Vibration Analysis
This technology helps your dentist in St. Louis to “listen” to your joints. It provides them a greater insight into what is happening to your joint disc. It also helps determine if there are any abnormalities.
K7 Jaw Tracking
Firstly, this shows your dentist the path your jaw takes when it moves. In addition, it also offers an understanding of where your jaw should rest for the best muscle positioning.
Using small electrical pulses, this device helps your jaw muscles to relax. As a result, your dentist can address and correct any alignment issues.
T-Scan Digital Bite Analyzer
Finally, this technology offers information about how your teeth touch, and the amount of pressure each of your teeth experiences. This tool provides a better insight into how this affects your jaw muscles. In fact, it helps to understand your bite and balance to determine TMJ treatments, too.
TMJ Treatment Options
Treatments vary from case to case. Some may use an oral appliance. Meanwhile, other patients require bite reconstruction. Then, many turn to orthodontics.
Most people associate “braces” with a straighter smile. However, neuromuscular orthodontics uses the same principles in aligning teeth. Its goal is just a little different. The focus is to help align the muscles, joints, and teeth in the mouth that have gone astray. More importantly, it eliminates pain and discomfort. Regardless, this treatment ultimately creates improved jaw movement and function, as well as facial aesthetics. The timeline for neuromuscular orthodontics is between nine to 24 months. At the end of the day, this time commitment depends on the severity of each case.
Think You May Have TMJ? Schedule A Consultation With A St. Louis Dentist Today.
If you notice any of the above TMJ signs or symptoms, reach out to Smile On Dental Studios. As a neuromuscular dentist, Dr. Chris Hill focuses on the underlying cause of your TMJ pain, to relieve your discomfort without drugs or surgery. We use advanced technologies to precisely diagnose your TMJ, and pinpoint areas of concern.
Dr. Hill and our team will take the time and care to evaluate your mouth. Once we have a diagnosis, a custom treatment plan is created. This will not only help relieve your pain but correct the issue you have, permanently. If you think you are suffering from these common TMJ symptoms, call our St. Louis office today at (314) 678-7876. You can also reach out online to book a consultation.