If you like, you could refer to your TMJ dentist as a temporomandibular joint specialist. Most people, though, prefer to use the shorter and easier ‘TMJ.’ However, even if you can say it, it’s important to know what TMJ is and why it’s important. The temporomandibular joint or ‘TM joint’ is the hinge that connects your jaw to the bones of your skull. These joints (one on each side) are located just in front of your ears and are complex joints allowing you to open and close your mouth and move your jaw from side to side when you chew or talk. On occasions, problems arise causing this joint to pop or click or causing pain in the joint and neck area. These problems can result in difficulty chewing or talking.
These symptoms might be caused by damage to your jaw area, bite displacement due to prior dental work, or excessive grinding and clenching of your teeth. To properly diagnose TM disorders your TMJ dentist conducts a physical exam of your mouth and jaw as well as gathers information about the joints condition along with your medical history. Your dentist will check for tenderness, proper jaw movement, and bite comfort. A full jaw x-ray might be taken to determine jaw hinge position relative to your teeth and facial structure. This type x-ray is done to pinpoint causes and to eliminate other issues.
Your TMJ dentist will make sure any dental work that has been done, such as replacement of missing teeth or the addition of crowns, implants or bridges does not interfere with comfortable and natural jaw movements and bite. Also, if you are anticipating any dental work, your TMJ dentist will ensure the procedure is carefully planned so that the TM joint works properly and facial features are natural and cosmetically aesthetic.
Dentists have learned that facial muscles and joints, such as the TM joint, must be considered before new dental work is undertaken. Changing the position or arrangement of teeth may impact the workings of the jaw and mouth. A TMJ dentist, trained in TMJ techniques, will evaluate dental procedures in light of bite, TM joint function, and facial features. The effect of dental work on TMJ is particularly true when straightening teeth, replacing missing teeth, positioning implants, and completing extractions.
Before beginning new dental procedures, it is important to discuss with your TMJ dentist the impact of any planned dental work on your TM joint. The dentists at Village Park Dental have received specialized training in TMJ dentistry which includes consideration of TMJ issues when planning any dental procedure.
Talk with your TMJ dentist at Village Park Dental to learn more about TMJ problems and how good dental practices at home might help. If you suffer jaw pains, clicking or popping in your jaw joint, pains in your neck, or difficulties opening and closing your mouth, you should call Village Park Dental Centers now and schedule an appointment to discuss TMJ. Our Village Park dentists specialize in all aspects of adult and pediatric dentistry and are here to help you achieve the best possible dental health for you and your family. Call us today at 281-376-4444.