The 411 on TMJ
TMJ is short for temporomandibular joint, which is a big word for your jaw joint. As a hinge joint, it can move up and down, forward and backward, and side to side. All that mobility contributes to its vulnerability: it is subject to a painful condition called TMJ disorder, which is treatable at Weston Spencer DDS in La Jolla CA.
Sometimes you’ll hear the disorder referred to as “TMJ,” but strictly speaking TMJ refers to the jaw joint. Even professionals call it TMJ sometimes, but it should properly be called TMJ disorder, or TMD.
There are three common types of TMJ disorder:
- Muscular: There are strong muscles on the side of the face and head, and they’re what make all that movement possible. Overuse can lead to tightness or pain. Stress can lead to clenching or grinding. Injuries can also affect these muscles.
- Joint and Disc Displacement: There is a disc of soft tissue within the joint’s ball-and-socket portion. It can be damaged from trauma, such as dislocation. This can lead to pain when chewing, or simply opening your mouth. There may be a clicking or popping sound as you move your jaw.
- Arthritis: Arthritis can affect any of your joints, including the TMJ. The joint’s cartilage deteriorates.
If any of this sounds familiar, please call us at Weston Spencer DDS in La Jolla CA. We can diagnose the condition and develop a TMJ/TMD treatment plan that works. We’ve treated people from Solano Beach, Del Mar, and Claremont, who also come to us for general and cosmetic dentistry. Contact us to schedule an appointment today!
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