The Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) is the joint that connects the upper and lower jaw and is responsible for the opening and closing of the mouth. TMJ disorder is a catch all term for a wide variety of potential issues affecting the jaw joint, muscles in the face, neck, and surrounding nerves.
Chicago dentist Dr. Irene Theodore is able to treat most TMJ related problems with the use of mouth guards, splints and occlusal adjustments. Her goal is to gently and naturally bring the head, neck, jaw and bite into proper alignment.
Improper occlusion is one of the causes for pain and disfunction in the TMJ. By bringing the teeth and jaws into proper alignment, Dr. Theodore can alleviate the symptoms of TMJ dysfunction (TMD), such as sore jaw, headaches, teeth clenching, and more.
The first step is a comprehensive evaluation for Dr. Theodore to look for the signs and symptoms of TMJ dysfunction. Once she has determined the source of instability, Dr. Theodore will create a customized treatment plan to bring the teeth and bite into proper alignment.
Signs & Symptoms of TMJ Disorder
The signs and symptoms of TMJ disorder vary greatly between patients. They often mask themselves or are similar to those of other medical conditions, making diagnosis extremely difficult.
Common symptoms of TMJ disorder include:
- Shoulder, neck, facial pain
- Clicking or popping when opening or closing jaw
- Locked jaw or limited mobility in the jaw joint
- Teeth clenching, teeth grinding, often accompanied by tooth wear
- Chronic earaches