The temporomandibular joint, commonly referred to as the TMJ, is a very complex joint with components of bone, cartilage, muscle, and ligaments. The cartilage disk between the bone of the jaw and the skull functions as the cushion for the jaw joint. Sometimes, this disk can slip out of position and can result in pain, a misaligned bite, or a clicking or grating noise when you open or close your mouth. This process happens in up to 1/3 of the population. Some patients have trouble opening their mouth wide or experience pain in the jaw joint or surrounding muscles when chewing food.
When patients experience pain in this joint or the surrounding muscles or difficulty chewing, the condition is called a TMJ disorder. If you experience any of the following symptoms, you may have a TMJ disorder:
- Pain in the ears or the jaw joints
- Pain in the facial muscles
- Difficulty biting or chewing foods
- Grating, popping, or clicking sounds when opening and closing the mouth
- Increased headaches, dizziness, hearing loss, or ear pain/ringing
- Trouble opening the mouth all the way
No single treatment can resolve TMJ disorders completely, and treatment takes time to become effective, but Dr. Anderson can help you by developing a treatment plan that allows you to have a more comfortable jaw and oral function. This often involves collaboration with a capable general dentist or orthodontist. If you think you are experiencing TMJ disorder symptoms, your dentist may be able to help, or you may contact Granger Oral Surgery & Dental Implants at our Granger, IN office to meet with Dr. Anderson.