TMJ Joint Disorder

TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint) disorders are a family of problems related to your jaw joint and head and neck musculature. If you have had symptoms such as pain or a “clicking” sound, you’ll be glad to know that these problems are more easily diagnosed and treated than they were in the past. Since some types of TMJ problems can lead to more serious conditions, early detection and treatment are important.

Trouble with your jaw

TMJ disorders develop for many reasons. Some causes include excessive clenching or grinding of your teeth. These activities cause tightening of your jaw muscles and stressing of your TM joint. Or, you may have a damaged jaw joint due to an injury or disease. Whatever the cause, the symptoms may include a misaligned bite, pain, clicking or grating noises, or trouble opening your mouth wide.

  • Do you have TMJ disorder?
  • Are you aware of grinding or clenching your teeth?
  • Do you wake up with sore, stiff muscles around your jaws?
  • Does the pain get worse when you clench your teeth?
  • Does stress make your clenching and pain worse?
  • Does your jaw click, pop, grate, catch, or lock when you open your mouth?
  • Is it difficult or painful to open your mouth, eat or yawn?
  • Have you ever injured your neck, head or jaws?
  • Have you had problems (such as arthritis) with other joints?
  • Do you have teeth that no longer touch when you bite?
  • Do your teeth meet differently from time to time?
  • Is it hard to use your front teeth to bite or tear food?
  • Are your teeth sensitive, loose, broken or worn?

The more times you answered “yes,” the more likely that you have a TMJ disorder. Understanding TMJ disorders will also help you understand how they’re treated.

Treatment

There are various treatment options that Dr. Tidwell and Dr. Kutcipal can utilize to improve the harmony and function of your jaws. Once an evaluation confirms a diagnosis of TMJ disorder, Drs. Tidwell and Kutcipal will determine the proper course of treatment. It is important to note that treatment always works best with a team approach of self-care as well as professional care.