The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) connects the lower jaw to the skull. Disorders of the temporomandibular joint (TMD) can cause discomfort in the jaw and other parts of the face. If you’ve previously read about TMJ/TMD because you suffer from symptoms of the disorder, chances are you need a Highland Park dentist who can recommend suitable treatment.
Dr. Ira L. Shapira is a TMJ/TMD dentist who understands the important role this joint plays in the proper function of the mouth – and the pain dysfunction can cause. Please call North Shore Sleep Dentistry today at (847) 533-8313 to schedule an appointment at our Highland Park office.
Understanding TMJ and TMD
As noted above, the TMJ is a part of the body while TMD is a disorder affecting the joint. In regular discussion, however, the two terms are often used interchangeably.
TMD can be caused by factors such as:
- Habitual teeth grinding
- Trauma to the mouth or jaw
- Chronic conditions like arthritis, which can erode the joint
Whatever the cause, loss of function in the TMJ can lead to difficulty and discomfort when you talk, chew food, or even open and close your mouth.
Symptoms of TMJ Disorder
A key indicator of TMD is often a clicking or popping sound that comes from the jaw when the TMJ is in motion. Other potential symptoms include:
- Severe headache
- Pain in the jaw, neck, sinuses, and other parts of the face and head
- Persistent ringing in the eras (tinnitus)
- Discomfort in the neck or shoulders
- A jaw that locks in the open position
Depending on the cause, TMJ disorder can also lead to other physical and mental health complications. The constant pain and pressure in the head can lead to fatigue and mood swings, while tooth grinding can damage not only the jaw joint but individual teeth as well.
Some of the above symptoms, like migraines, can be triggered by a variety of different events or conditions. Some patients might experience severe headaches because of an entirely separate disorder known as sleep apnea.
Before determining the appropriate TMJ treatment, a qualified professional should evaluate you for signs of dysfunction in the joint. Diagnosis could involve:
- Asking you to move your jaw to assess range of motion and function
- Feeling your jaw to identify potential misalignment and pain sites
- Listening to your jaw for peculiar sounds
- Medical imaging tests, such as X-rays or MRI scans
If Dr. Shapira discovers that you’re suffering from TMD, he can recommend treatments to help you recover health and function in the joint. Treatment will focus on eliminating symptoms and restoring stability to the TMJ.
To learn more about TMJ/TMD diagnosis and treatment, please contact North Shore Sleep Dentistry or call (847) 533-8313 today to schedule a consultation with Dr. Shapira at his Highland Park office.