Just in front of our ears are joints that work like hinges to open and close the lower jaw. These “jaw joints” are called the Temporomandibular joints or TMJs (Temporo meaning in the vicinity of our temples, mandibular meaning the lower jaw or mandible).
Problems or damage to these joints can come about from several reasons:
- A “bad bite.” Teeth that do not fit together properly, throwing off the alignment of the jaw joints.
- Injury or accidents that have caused damage inside the joint.
- Clenching or grinding of the teeth (teeth are designed to chew food but not to chew each other) that damaged or inflamed the joints.
Temperomandibular Joint Dysfunction (TMD) is a group of joint disorders which can cause a wide range of symptoms that often are confused or misdiagnosed as other problems. Many problems associated with the teeth and jaws could be jaw joint problems in disguise.
Some of the possible symptoms of TMD are:
- Clicking or grating sound in the joint
- Headaches or neck aches
- Limited ability to open the mouth very wide
- Painful opening
- Ringing in the ear
- Locking when opening or closing
- Sore or tender teeth
- Wearing down of the teeth
- Multiple teeth having broken areas or lost fillings
The first step for handling TMD is a thorough examination to gather information. After the problem has been sorted out, the treatment plan would depend on what is needed. If someone was clenching or grinding, a small, essentially invisible protective guard could be made to cushion the teeth. If the bite is extremely off, sometimes tooth alignment is needed (perhaps orthodontics). Muscle relaxation techniques, gentle adjusting of the bite, or physical therapy are also some of the possible treatment options.
Dr. Marx has specific training that deals with many of the problems that lead to TMJ pain. If you are concerned or feel you may have jaw joint problems, call us for an more information and to schedule an evaluation.
Barbara J.B. Martin
Dr. Marx and his staff are the most excellent group of people I have ever met! Very professional, knowledgeable and friendly, absolutely caring in every aspect of their service. I was a cry-baby and fearful of dentists. Dr. Marx has never once hurt me or caused me to be fearful in any way. I am… Read more “Barbara J.B. Martin”
I would like to take this opportunity to speak about Dr. Robert Marx and his dental practice. I first met Dr. Marx in the worst of circumstances, i.e., I had an abscessed and infected tooth, was in pain, and was absolutely terrified. I found his practice purely by chance and he took emergency cases and… Read more “Ramona Pansegrau”
“I spent all my childhood with a gap that got the best of myself and my confidence. Now I can’t stop looking in the mirror and loving my smile. I now feel as good on the outside as the inside. I have a new confidence in myself. This changed my life.”
I have a beautiful smile thanks to Dr. Marx and the staff. They have expertly matched shape, color and size for the perfect veneers. They were extremely patient during the process and had my greatest desires in mind to achieve this. I am very impressed by their skill, equipment and talent.
“After my orthodontic treatment I feel my new confidence has propelled me in my career.”
“It was great to get all my treatment done in one office. I did not have to go somewhere else to get my implants done. And what surprised me the most was that the implant procedure was totally painless. I now get so many compliments on my smile.”
“You provided me with the improved dental appearance without any fears coming to fruition. My “smile” is better than when I was a teenager, as everyone has told me. I get in arguments about my birth date – “you can’t be that old”. Just what a woman loves to hear. Thank you.”
I found Dr. Marx through his website and the great references I found there. I have been phobic about dentists since I had a scary one when I was a child, but have done what was necessary to keep my teeth healthy. My front teeth were cracked to the gums as well as having moved since… Read more “Mary Eisenhower”