Patients living in Ann Arbor, Plymouth, Adrian, Dexter, and the surrounding counties can receive treatment of TMJ disorders in any of our practice offices.
The temporomandibular joint (commonly referred to as TMJ) is the hinge connecting the lower jaw to the skull. It is the joint that allows your mouth to open and close or move side to side smoothly. It connects just in front of the ear on each side of your head and is attached to the muscles that control your mouth’s movement. You can easily feel these joints just by placing your fingers directly in front of your ears and opening and closing your mouth.
When patients express that they are experiencing pain in this joint or the surrounding muscles, or having difficulty chewing, this condition is called TMJ disorder. TMJ disorder is actually quite common. If you experience any of the following symptoms, you may have a TMJ disorder:
- Trouble opening the mouth all of the way
- Grating, popping, or clicking sounds when opening and closing the mouth
- Increased headaches, dizziness, hearing loss, ear pain, or ringing in the ears
- Pain in the facial muscles, around the ears, or in the jaw joints
- Difficulty biting or chewing foods
The cause of TMJ disorders is not always definite, but it is important for an oral and maxillofacial surgeon to understand how the disorder arose to treat the problem properly. Sometimes the condition may be a result of one or more of the following causes:
- Injury to the jaw or muscles in the neck or head
- Excessive clenching or grinding of the teeth
- Displaced or perforated disk in the joint
- Jaw misalignment
- Congenital defects
Your doctor will outline your treatment plan based on the specific cause (or causes) of your TMJ disorder. During your initial consultation, you will receive a thorough oral examination, X-rays, CAT scan, and in some cases, an MRI to accurately diagnose the problem. Most cases of TMJ dysfunction can potentially be treated with self-managed care or nonsurgical treatments, such as pain relievers, bite guards, or physical therapy. If your condition requires surgery, the procedure will be based on your specific problem.
Oral and maxillofacial surgeons are highly qualified specialists in the areas of the mouth, teeth, and jaws and are your best option for correctly diagnosing a TMJ disorder. If you think you may have a TMJ disorder, we urge you to contact Michigan Oral Surgeons for a consultation.