What is the temporomandibular joint?
The TMJ is a ball and socket joint located where the upper and lower jaws meet. You have one joint on each side of your mouth. These joints are part of a large group of muscles, ligaments, and bones that work together as a system.
TMD often causes severe pain and discomfort. It can be temporary or last many years. It might affect one or both sides of your face. More women than men have it, and it’s most common among people between the ages of 20 and 40.
Popping or clicking of the jaw.
- If you feel pain in your jaw, along with a noise when you move your jaw up and down, the joint may be damaged.
- Muscles can go into spasm and cause pain
- Pain, redness, heat, swelling, or loss of function
Teeth grinding, clenching
Pain when yawning, talking, or chewing
Limited range of motion
Splint Therapy: A customized orthotic splint is fabricated to reduce strain on the joints. Treatment will involve several adjustments at the office. Treatment time is generally 8-10 months with alleviation of symptoms beginning around 2 months or sooner.
Eating with Care: Chewing strains the TMJ. When symptoms are bad, choose soft foods, such as: pasta, eggs, oatmeal, yogurt, fish, bananas, applesauce, tofu, mashed potatoes, and smoothies. Avoid hard foods, such as: whole apples, carrots, nuts, some meats, and no chewing gum.
Ice and Heat:
- Heat helps relax muscles (use moist heat, a moist hot towel to the muscles for 10-20 minutes, repeat as needed).
- Ice helps reduce swelling and pain (use a gel pack or wrapped ice). Apply for 10-20 minutes or until the site becomes numb.
Treatment plan and exam
Dr Schratz will complete an exam that will include pressing on the muscles and jaw joint, checking for pain, tension, and tenderness as well as determining range of motion. A complete treatment plan will be recommended and tailored to your specific needs.