The temporomandibular joint is located in front of the ear, and in diseases states it may cause jaw pain, ear aches, headaches and restriction in mouth opening.
It represents the articulation between the lower jaw (mandible) and the temporal bone (base of skull). Separating this “ball and socket” is a fibrocartilage disc that acts as a cushion between the two bones.
When an individual complains of TMJ, they are generally complaining about a pain and dysfunction within this joint. The dysfunction usually presents as a clicking within the jaw joint and/or a locking of the jaw joint.
Both of these conditions represent a disharmony between the movement of the “ball and socket” and the gliding of the interposing fibrocartilage. In addition to the problems within the jaw joint, individuals may also complain about pain and dysfunction around the supporting musculature of the jaw and jaw joint.
At Dolman Oral Surgery, Dr. Dolman will take the time to listen to your TMJ complaint and after gathering all the required information, he will outline the appropriate treatment plan.
Evaluation and Treatment of TMJ Dysfunctions
Assessment of a ‘TMJ’ patient requires compilation of a detailed history, together with a thorough clinical and radiographic examination – which may even include MRI in certain situations.
Non-surgical management of TMJ issues generally involves the combination of soft diet, moist heat application, mouthguard/nightguard therapy, physical therapy, stress reduction, NSAIDs, as well as muscle relaxants to alleviate stress and its impact on the TMJ.
For severe cases, surgical intervention may require TMJ arthroscopy and possible open-joint TMJ surgery.