TMJThe TMJ (temporomandibular joint) is the jaw joint, which connects the jawbone to the skull. Unlike many joints in the body, the TMJ allows a wide range of motion, meaning the structure is quite complex. It also involves many nerves, and some of the most powerful muscles in the body. You probably don’t give much thought to your jaws, or to the act of chewing. However, these tiny joints can perform impressive feats of precision movement and powerful force. Even a slight dysfunction can lead to big problems, including severe headaches, facial pain, difficulty chewing, and even hearing problems.
What can go wrong?Unfortunately, many things can go wrong. Some of these include:
- Birth defects, injury, or the effects of arthritis and other degenerative diseases can damage the joint structure.
- Orthodontic misalignment, tooth damage, or missing teeth can cause problems chewing, which puts undue stress on certain areas of the joint.
- One of the most common causes is bruxism, better known as clenching or grinding your teeth. If you have this habit during times of stress, you may be aware of it. However, it can occur during sleep, and you might not know about it.
Treating TMJ problemsAll treatments in our office are highly personalized, and that is especially true of TMJ conditions. The first step is determining the underlying cause. Diagnosing TMJ dysfunctions can be difficult, and this condition is often overlooked by general physicians. Dentists are trained extensively in the oral structures, and periodontists have additional specialized training. Therefore, many doctors refer TMJ patients to a specialist such as Dr. Sanda Moldovan.
For many people the problem can be corrected with a combination of stress reduction techniques and a nightguard to prevent bruxism during sleep. Sometimes orthodontics or specific dental treatment may be recommended. In rare cases, such as a dysfunction caused by a bone defect, surgical treatment may be recommended.
Contact our Los Angeles dental office at (310) 651-6588 and schedule a consultation with Dr. Sanda today.