FAQs about TMD/TMJ

North Brunswick dentist, Dr. Jyoti Shah, views her patients as more than a set of teeth and gums. She and her dedicated team seek to treat the whole person, and so, evaluate each patient for problems beyond simple tooth decay and gum disease.

One of most prevalent, but often ignored, oral health problems is TMJ or TMD, a chronic inflammatory condition of the jaw joint. More TMJproperly called Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction, TMJ affects more than 10 million adults in the United States, according to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research.

Do you suspect you have TMJ? Dr. Shah answers many frequently asked questions about TMJ in her North Brunswick dental office, offering patients precise diagnosis, compassionate listening and gentle solutions to this disconcerting and painful issue.

FAQs about Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction

1. What is the temporomandibular joint? The TMJ is the joint at the side of the head which allows an individual to open and close his mouth and move his lower jaw laterally, or sideways. The upper end of the jaw bone has a rounded condyle which connects to the temporal bone via special muscles and a soft disc.

2. What goes wrong with this joint? Unfortunately, many people experience facial pain, earaches, headaches, popping and clicking noises at the joint and some swelling, too. Perhaps most worrisome is the inability to open and close the jaw properly and comfortably. In fact, sometimes the mouth gets "stuck" in the open or closed position.

3. Who gets TMJ? Anyone can, but women between the ages of 30 and 40 seem most prone.

4. What causes it? Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction is somewhat mysterious. Of course, a blow to the face may cause it, but beyond that, chronic inflammation, stress, and related teeth clenching and grinding and poor dental bite contribute to the condition.

5. How is it diagnosed and treated? Your North Brunswick dentist evaluates possible TMJ with gentle oral examination and discussion of symptoms. She may take digital x-rays and other imaging to determine how teeth bite together and to look at the jaw joint and related bone structure.

Treatment can be very simple as TMJ often just comes and goes. Ice or heat to the joint relieves discomfort as do ibuprofen, acetaminophen, or with severe pain, muscle relaxants. Cortisone injections reduce inflammation. Depending on Dr. Shah's findings, dental interventions include orthodontic correction or crowns and bridgework to correct bite problems.

Learn more

TMJ is a quirky, stubborn oral disorder that truly impacts a person's overall well-being. If you think you have this jaw joint problem, contact Family Dentistry by Jyoti R. Shah DDS. She and her staff will get to the root of your discomfort and craft sensible solutions that work. Call (732) 246-8181 for an appointment.

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