TMJ Disorders

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    What is TMJ?

    The Temporomandibular Joint is represented by the abbreviation TMJ and symbolizes the first three anatomic areas of the head.

    T = Temporal bone (skull)

    M = Mandible (lower jawbone)

    J = Joint (connects the two bones)

    The Temporomandibular Joint acts like a sliding hinge, connecting your jawbone to your skull. This joint is unique due to its two joints; one on either side of the head that connect to the lower mandible (jawbone). The TMJ joints work together, whereas other joints work independently. When these joints break down, it can be debilitating. The result of their breaking down is referred to as TMD. TMJ disorders can cause pain in your jaw joint and in the muscles that control jaw movement.

    The exact cause of a person’s TMJ disorder is often difficult to determine. Your pain may be due to a combination of problems, such as arthritis or jaw injury. Trauma induced TMJ disorders are found to be the statistic majority for patients. As a response mechanism to pain of any kind, people frequently clench or grind their teeth. This may be conscious or unconscious but it is not normal. It should be evaluated to determine why it is happening before it creates a micro trauma injury to the jaw joint. In most cases, the pain and discomfort associated with TMJ disorders can be alleviated with proper diagnosis and non-surgical treatments. Severe TMJ disorders may require surgical repair.

    Although not as commonly used, disorders (improper function & pain) of the temporomandibular joint (TMD) may be used.

    T = Temporal bone

    M = Mandible

    D = Disorder/Dysfunction

    We don’t know for certain how many people have TMJ disorders, but some estimates suggest that over 10 million Americans are affected. The condition appears to be more common in women than men.

    Physicians for years have called TMJ disorders “The Great Imposter” because so many of the symptoms they were chasing originated from TMJ disorders.

    Craniofacial Pain also referred to as Orofacial pain , is an emerging dental specialty that used to fall under the category of temporomandibular disorders (TMJ/TMD). TMJ therapy is associated with Craniofacial Pain management, the latter covers a broader set of conditions within the head, neck and shoulders that sometimes manifests as facial pain.

    What Causes TMD/TMJ?

    The most common cause is bruxism, or clenching of the teeth in our sleep. Bruxism is a movement disorder. There is NEW evidence showing bruxism (grinding) as a “protective mechanism” against a breathing disorder or constriction of the airway.

    Other contributing factors are injuries in the jaw, intubation, arthritis, genetics, dental procedures, autoimmune diseases, motor vehicle accidents, sports injuries, and stress.

    What are TMD/TMJ Symptoms?

    TMJ symptoms can involve the muscles, nerves, tendons, ligaments, bones and connective tissue in the jaw, head and neck.

    • Being unable to open the mouth comfortably
    • Tired/tight jaws
    • Locking of the jaw when opening or closing the mouth
    • Teeth grinding or clenching
    • Clicking, popping and grating sounds
    • Headaches recurring or chronic
    • Neck, Shoulder and back pain, stiffness
    • Feeling of a foreign object in your throat, difficulty swallowing
    • A bite that feels uncomfortable or “off”
    • Swelling on the side of the face
    • Ringing in the ear, ear pain, decreased hearing, stuffiness
    • Dizziness, vertigo and vision problems, nausea
    • Pain behind the eye
    TMJ Symptoms
    Diagnosing a TMJ disorder can be difficult, which is why it’s important to find a dentist trained in TMJ/TMD therapy to find the root cause of your symptoms. Dr. David, of TMJ & Sleep Therapy Centre of New England, has undergone extensive training and completed advanced education in TMD/TMJ treatment.

    Forward Head Posture

    “If the head weighs 10 lbs. and the center of the ear sits directly over the center of the shoulder, the load on the spine and its tissue is only 10 lbs. However, if the head is translated forward, its weight will increase by 10 lbs for every inch forward it is. In effect, if the center of the ear is three inches forward from the center of the shoulders, the width of the head on the spine and its discs, joints, and nerves is 30 lbs.!” – Renee Cailliet, M.D.

    Forward Head Posture

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    We Can Help You.

    Call us today to learn more about treating your TMJ or Sleep challenges.

    (978) 779-0865

    Learn more about what our patients have to say

    about the TMJ & Sleep Therapy Centre of New England

    Brittany D.

    5.0 ★★★★★

    Beautiful experience. My third child, was my first with ties. Dr. Kaplan took his time showing me images of my sons ties and explaining them to me so I understood them more. He also made the atmosphere very comfortable! We had all 3 ties released (tongue, lip, and cheek) done in about 10 minutes. Dr. Kaplan checked in with me about 5 minutes after the procedure and explained everything to me about follow up appointments with lactation and chiro and how to massage my babies mouth post-op. Highly recommend for infant tie issues!

    Marissa T.

    5.0 ★★★★★

    Dr. David is by far one of the most compassionate dentists I have ever met. Dr. David and her team have a thirst for knowledge and are constantly furthering their education. I would highly recommend the TMJ & Sleep Centre of New England if you have any TMJ/Sleep needs.

    Tara R.

    5.0 ★★★★★

    I have only been for initial exam and consultation, so this review is for that. I love the office. They have great technology and a nice ambiance if you can believe it. Pretty rare to find a dentist with nice views but I had beautiful trees to look at outside the window while I sat in the chair. The tech and dentist were so caring and really listened to me and took their time to make me feel at ease. I have had some less than savory and even traumatic experiences at other dentists , I can say that I feel very comfortable and trusting with Dr David. I think she is a brilliant doctor who really cares about people and looks at the whole picture , not just your teeth. I’m happy I found her and ready to start my treatment plan. This is by far not the cheapest dentist but I only have one set of teeth, so trusting myself to the best.