The “Temporomandibular Joint,” more commonly referred to as the “jaw joint,” assists in the basic opening and closing movements of the jaw. Unfortunately, this joint is a common area for recurring pain. Although conventional wisdom suggests that “popping” sounds in the jaw indicates a TM Joint dysfunction (TMD), this is not always true. Many times, your jaw is functioning properly even if a “popping” sound is present when chewing or talking.
We offer a jaw joint examination that evaluates the joint tissue in the “hinge” of the jaw. Possible problems include swelling, deterioration of the joint tissue or damaged joint tissue (which cushions the jaw bones during the opening and closing movement of the mouth). Common pain relievers and cold compresses can provide temporary relief for mild cases of TMD.
For more serious cases of TMD, we will recommend alternate treatments. We will often suggest using an interarticular bite splint to relieve pressure on the joint, particularly in cases of tooth grinding. In some cases, we will recommend using orthodontic appliances or retainers to modify the bite in order to alleviate discomfort or redirect positioning of the TM Joint.