Jaw Problems

tmj suffererWhat is TMJ?

TMJ is an acronym for temporomandibular joint, which is a fancy way of saying jaw joint. Clinically, we refer to problems associated with the TMJ (jaw joint) as TMJ Syndrome or TMD (disorder). But many patients just call it "TMJ". Often, TMJ Syndrome presents itself as a popping sound and sensation near the jaw joint.

Who can have TMJ Syndrome?

TMJ problems can afflict people of all ages, although patients under 40 are more susceptible and it occurs more frequently in women.

What are the Symptoms of TMJ Syndrome?

TMJ Syndrome symptoms include:

  • Headaches
  • Earaches, stuffiness, or ringing in the ears
  • Pain or soreness in and around the jaw joints
  • Dizziness
  • Numbness in fingers and arms
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Limited movement or locking of the jaw
  • Clicking or grating sounds in the jaw joints
  • Pain behind the eyes
  • Neck, shoulder, or back pain
  • Facial pain
  • Unexplained loosening of teeth

Left untreated, the TMJ symptoms increase in number and severity as you get older.

How Does Dr. Sells Test for TMJ Syndrome?

TMD testingIn order to determine the best course of treatment, an accurate diagnosis is imperative. Some or all of the following diagnostic procedures made be used to determine if you have TMJ Syndrome:

  • A review of the patient's past medical and dental history in relation to the TMJ conditions, onset of pain, symptoms and contributing factors.
  • Clinical examinations of the teeth and bite, and of the muscles of the jaw, head, neck, and shoulders to determine areas of tenderness.
  • X-rays of the jaw joints in opened, closed, and rest positions.casts of teeth
  • Casts (models) of the teeth and their chewing patterns.
  • Use of "tens unit" to relax the muscles of the jaw. A "tens unit" is a piece of equipment that uses special pads to supply gentle impulses to the jaw muscles in order to relax the jaw.
  • Analysis of the muscles used for chewing (muscles that move the jaw).
  • Analysis of muscle activity in the jaw and neck.
  • Recording of jaw joint sounds.

Results of these procedures help to determine if you have TMJ Syndrome and, if so, how to best treat it.