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TMJ/TMD (temporomandibular joint disorders) results when the temporomandibular joints are prevented from working properly. TMJ/TMD can range from a dull ache in front of the ears to debilitating jaw pain and dysfunction. TMJ commonly occurs along with fibromyalgia, tinnitus, migraines, mitral valve prolapse and other conditions linked to magnesium deficiencies . A major factor in all of these associations may be that because magnesium gets depleted through the menstruation process, women of child bearing age are more likely to be at risk for conditions linked to a deficiency of this mineral. TMJ problems are often painful, though the pain does not mean there is a serious problem. The pain occurs where the jaw meets the skull, just in front of the ear on each side of the face.
TMJ dysfunction can then be addressed as for “arthritis” above.  TMJ worsens when people clench and grind their teeth. Those that only clench their teeth at night wake up with severe pain in their jaw , resulting in difficult jaw mobility. TMJ disorders are also sometimes referred to as myofacial pain dysfunction and Costen's syndrome. Because muscles and joints work together, a problem with either one can lead to stiffness, headaches, ear pain, bite problems (malocclusion), clicking sounds, or locked jaws.
TMJ anatomy comprises the bones, ligaments, tendons and muscles of the region. Up to 75 percent of the population has at least one sign or symptom of temporomandibular dysfunction and 34 percent report having this. TMJ centers employ a multidisciplinary approach, including psychological counseling and trigger point injections, for treatment.  TMJ refes to the temporomandibular joints on either side of the jaw. Often, disorders of the TMJ , referred to as TMD (temporomandibular disorders), can lead to serious headaches or acute neck, ear, jaw joint and cheek pain.
TMJ sufferers often experience jaw clicking, popping or locking during movement. In some cases, chewing is difficult, or the bite may not align properly (malocclusion). TMJ Concepts manufactures state-of-the-art, patient-fitted prostheses for the reconstruction of the temporomandibular joint. Each prosthesis is individually fabricated for the unique anatomy of the patient. TMJ MR imaging is totally noninvasive and requires no injections. 
TMJ Dysfunction is a popular term to describe a disorder of the jaw joints or the muscles that control the joints. Various terms are used to describe this disorder. TMJ arthroscopy , ligament tightening, joint restructuring, and joint replacement are considered in the most severe cases of joint damage or deterioration. 
Joint noises (clicks, pops) and locking of the jaw is also not uncommon. Most often these symptoms will improve over time. Joint involvement is generally bilateral. X-rays or CT may show flattening and lipping of the condyle, suggestive of dysfunctional change. Joint noises during jaw movements are a sign that the functional elements are not working smoothly. Crunching grinding noises are called Crepitus, and it is associated with hard tissue contact during movement.
Pain: Pain usually is periauricular, associated with chewing, and may radiate to the head but is not like a headache. It may be unilateral or bilateral in MPD, and usually is unilateral in TMD of articular origin, except in RA. Pain can also extend to the ears, neck and shoulders. Some people hear joint sounds when the jaw is in motion and many are unable to open their mouth wide. Pain or dysfunction of the temporomandibular joint is commonly referred to as "TMJ", when in fact, TMJ is really the name of the joint, and Temporomandibular joint disorder (or dysfunction ) is abbreviated TMD. This term is used to refer to a group of problems involving the TMJs and the muscles, tendons, ligaments, blood vessels, and other tissues associated with them.
Pain from jaw problems is treated effectively if the pain is due to problems in the muscles but not if the problem is in the jaw joint itself. 
Oral health has traditionally been divided into three different forms of treatment: preventative, cosmetic, and restorative dentistry. But our vision is not limited solely to these categories. Oral health is an essential component of health throughout life. Poor oral health and untreated oral diseases and conditions can have a significant impact on quality of life. Oral and maxillofacial surgeons try to find the best treatment possible for every patient, often working with specialists from pain management, neurology and physical medicine. 
Oral sedation (medication in a pill form) is another option to calm extremely nervous patients. Special arrangements can be made for those patients who desire to have their dental treatment performed while they are asleep. Oral habits such as clenching the teeth or grinding the teeth. Clenching is continually biting on things, such as ice, gum, pencils, or fingernails, while awake.
Disclosure of the software to any other persons is prohibited. The software contained on this website, including but not limited to all derivative works and copies based upon the software, are the proprietary property of Pain Resource Center, Inc. Discectomies can also help reduce pain associated with TMJ disease. When the disk is removed, so are parts of the surrounding tissue. DISCLAIMER: Statements made on this web site are for informational purposes only and are not intended to be substituted for the advice of a medical professional. Information and statements have not been evaluated by the American Dental Association or any federal regulation agency and are not intended to diagnose, or treat any disease or medical condition.
Problem is I see patients with the most perfect bite possible with TMJ, and see patients with terrible occlusion without TMJ symptoms.  Problems that can be addressed with neuromuscular dentistry include broken or missing teeth, as well as old, decaying dentistry and TMJ pain. When there is an imbalance in the muscles that open and close the jaw and/or bite then tension is created causing pain. Problems in this area can cause head and neck pain , a jaw that is locked in position or difficult to open, problems biting, and popping sounds when you bite. 
Patients often feel this symptom is a tension headache or sinus headache but it can be easily differentiated during a TMD exam. Patients understandably (and many doctors) fail to make this connection between TMD and headaches. Patient has been self medicating with nonsteroidal antiinflammatories resulting in relief of pain at rest but continued pain on function and continued close lock. The most conservative treatment for this patient at this time is to immediately reposition the disk and restore the range of motion. Patients also have access to our Orofacial Pain Center , which specializes in conditions that cause orofacial pain, such as TMJ. In addition to pain management, services offered include relaxation techniques, biofeedback and acupuncture .
Patients with anterior displacement without reduction often cannot fully open their mouths'. Sometimes there is a tear or perforation of the meniscus. Patients with oral sleep apnea often suffer the additional consequences of hypertension, coronary heart disease and stroke. It is very important that any complaints of sleep difficulties be promptly evaluated by a medical doctor trained in sleep medicine.
Treatment for TMJ disorder can vary depending on what type of doctor is seen. A dentist often focuses on the relationship between your teeth and jaw, to see if a malocclusion (incorrect bite) is contributing to symptoms. Treatment is oriented to eliminating oral habits, physical therapy to the masticatory muscles and alleviating bad posture of the head and neck. A flat plane full coverage oral appliance, non-repositioning, often is helpful to control bruxism and take stress off the temporomandibular joint.
Early and appropriate treatment of a TMJ / TMD may avoid the progression to a chronic pain state.  Early treatment is important because long-standing muscle spasm can lead to shifting of the jaw and produce arthritic changes in the jaw joint. When this occurs, more complex forms of treatment, including surgery, may be necessary.
Temporomandibular disorders (TMJ), swallowing disorders, sleep apnea and snoring are medical conditions; therefore, we do follow a medical model in the appearance, lay out, treatment process, insurance and protocol used.  Temporomandibular joint disorder symptoms can take the form of everything from migraine headaches and earaches, to neck and shoulder pain. 
Information on Neuromuscular Dentistry is available at http://www.ihateheadaches.org . This web address will soon have a directory of neuromuscular dentists across the U.S. Information contained within this site is intended solely for general educational purposes and is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice relative to your specific medical condition or question. Always seek the advice of your physician or other health provider for any questions you may have regarding your medical condition.
Imagine having a mouthful of teeth that are so crowded and crooked that you have difficulty eating, speaking or smiling. That?s how many adults who have a condition called a constricted maxilla are forced to live. Imaging studies may also be recommended. 
Thank you for your email and I am so glad that I am able to put the exercises on CD. This way I can do the exercises as I drive down the road. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!  Thanks to her treatment (and the physical therapist she recommended), I have regained full, normal range of motion in my jaw and am virtually pain-free. She trained at UCSF and only practices on TMD and orofacial pain.
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