TMJ, also commonly known as TMD or TMJD, is short for temporomandibular disorder and is a condition that affects the jaw, muscles in the neck and head and the TMJ joints next to each ear. The TMJ joint is responsible for coordinating movements that lead to eating, drinking and talking so any complaint in the area can have a significant impact on the life of the patient.
The main symptom of TMJ is unfortunately pain. This usually occurs when the patient is chewing or yawning, or any other extended movement of the TM joint. There may also be a painful ringing or tinnitus in the ear. Other major symptoms include swelling around the joint, a change in the bite and profile and trouble swallowing.
One of the major problems when diagnosing TMJ is that a lot of these symptoms can be caused by manifold other conditions, some of which are far more likely to occur. This means that TMJ is often far down the list of diagnoses. Your West London dentist, if they suspect TMJ, will conduct something called a clench test. This involves clenching the jaw to assess whether there is a structural disorder that could be TMJ.
In most cases, treatment of TMJ will involve some level of orthodontics. In some severe cases, there may be a need for surgery but most bite misalignments can be cured with orthodontic treatment. During treatment, it may be necessary to wear a mouth guard to protect the lower teeth. There are various other treatments your dentist will be able to explain upon diagnosis of TMJ. If your jaw joints hurt or are swollen, then contact a dentist and ask for a test for TMJ.