TMJ Disorder

Neuromuscular Dentistry - TMJ Disorder Thousand Oaks CA

TMJ disorder can cause a number of detrimental problems for patients and can be treated by Dr. Laura Fathi here at Laura Fathi D.D.S. in Thousand Oaks CA

Grinding your teeth, suffering from frequent headaches, dizziness, stiff neck, ear ache, back pain or popping jaw joints? You may be one of the many undiagnosed TMJ disorder (TMD) sufferers.

What does TMJ stand for?

TMJ refers to the temporomandibular joints. These are the two joints located in front of the ears. These joints are important in several ways. The temporomandibular joint is responsible for opening and closing the mouth, chewing, swallowing, breathing, talking, yawning and kissing.

What is TMJ disorder?

TMJ disorder is the name given to conditions affecting this joint. TMJ disorder, or TMD, can be extremely painful and cause chronic facial pain for sufferers. The key contributor to TMJ disorder is stress. Stress causes the patient to clench down on the jaw, which compresses the jaw points and eventually results in bad bite. A popping sound on opening and closing your mouth is a very common occurrence with TMJ disorder.

Symptoms of TMJ disorder

There are many symptoms that can signify TMJ disorder besides pain and clicking. Due to the muscular structure of the jaw and face, your jaw muscle can also affect the muscles in your neck and forehead. Because of this, some patients experience the following symptoms of TMJ disorder:

  • worn teeth
  • yawning pain
  • sensitive teeth
  • chronic headaches
  • pain from clenching
  • stiff muscles
  • improper bite
  • arthritis

What causes TMJ disorder?

When it comes to what causes TMJ disorder, there are many possible reasons. Some reasons include stress, clenching or bruxism (grinding your teeth while you sleep or concentrate), a dislocated jaw and improper oral posture – which includes the position of your tongue and jaw while you rest and sleep.

Treatment for TMJ disorder (TMD treatment)

Firstly Dr. Fathi will determine the nature of your condition. There are a number of neuromuscular conditions that can cause pain or damage teeth. She will initially differentiate whether you are exhibiting a muscle disorder, TMJ disorder, or another muscle, joint or bone related condition.

Once you have been diagnosed with TMJ disorder by Dr. Laura Fathi, herself and her team can commence treatment. Treatment for TMJ disorder varies depending on the severity of each individual case. The most prominent treatment for TMJ Dysfunction is an Orthotic. Therapeutic orthotics are trays that sit over the teeth made of clear acrylic, molded to fit your lower teeth.

An Orthotic prevents patients from grinding their teeth and putting pressure on the temporomandibular joints (TMJ). Once symptoms are relieved and the bite has been stabilized; Dr. Fathi will then determine if further treatment is necessary to address the long-term management of TMJ disorder. This could include either Orthodontic treatment or a full mouth reconstruction.

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