The TMJ, also known as the temporomandibular joint, is responsible for nearly all mouth movement. For example, when you chew food or speak, your TMJ along with surrounding ligaments and muscles assists with efficient and smooth mouth movement. A joint that connects the jaw to the skull, the TMJ is a vital component to enjoying proper oral function. However, if the TMJ dysfunctions, patients may experience debilitating discomfort and diminished oral function. In severe cases, TMJ dysfunction can result in a patient’s inability to move his or her mouth rendering them unable to speak or eat.
Dr. Morris and our team understand that TMJ dysfunction can have debilitating and painful effects on a patient’s daily life. For this reason, Dr. Morris completed an advanced residency at the TMJ and Sleep Center of San Diego to offer effective TMJ treatment that helps improve oral function and relieve associated symptoms of discomfort.
What causes TMJ dysfunction?
TMJ disorder is caused by malocclusions (misaligned bites) or emotional factors such as stress, pain, and anxiety. Interestingly, dysfunction of the TMJ causes malocclusions, tooth wear, and even contributes to cavities because it can weaken the protective barrier (tooth enamel) surrounding teeth. Because parts of the oral system function symbiotically, causes of TMJ and the effects of TMJ disorder can overlap. Treating TMJ disorder is important for preventing potential damage to teeth and gums along with improving patients’ symptoms.
What are symptoms of TMJ disorder?
Common indicators of TMJ dysfunction include facial pain and headaches along with difficulty opening and closing the mouth. Some patients note popping or clicking sounds during mouth movement as well. Early stages of TMJ disorder may not produce noticeable symptoms and instead your dentist may detect TMJ dysfunction during oral examinations—especially if the back teeth are worn down or brittle.
What are my TMJ treatment options?
One of the main goals of TMJ therapy is relieving strain off the TMJ and the surrounding tissues responsible for mouth movement. This will help alleviate discomfort and relax the face. Another objective in treating TMJ disorder is to help patients achieve a healthy mouth position. When treating TMJ, Dr. Morris uses non-surgical or static orthotic treatment to stabilize the bite and decompress inflamed tissue.
If you suffer from TMJ dysfunction or have symptoms of TMJ disorder, we welcome you to schedule a consultation with Dr. Morris for an examination and custom treatment plan. To reserve your appointment, call our office today.