Temporomandibular Disorder (TMD) is a collective term that refers to the dysfunction of the masticatory (chewing) muscles, the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) or both, embracing a number of clinical problems. The disc in each TM joint is made up of cartilage located between the two articulating bones that allows the jaw to glide easily back and forth. Therefore, when malfunctioning TM joint becomes stretched or damaged, this can adversely affect the way one chews, yawn, talks, or swallows.
Our thanks to Dr. Westesson, of the University of Rochester, for allowing us to utilize parts of his videos to demonstrate Tempormandibular Disorder.
Ear fullness or pain
Clicking, popping or grating on the jaw joint
Limited jaw opening or locking
Pain when chewing
Neck pain or stiffness
Difficulty closing the teeth together
Asymmetric jaw movement
Today, TMJ related problems can often be successfully treated without surgery. The treatment plan generally focuses on calming the surrounding muscles and ligaments, relieving the pain, and reducing pressure on the TM joint. This is achieved by creating a custom-fitted oral orthotic appliance that is hardly noticeable since it is made of clear acrylic, which is worn by the patient on either the upper or lower teeth. The orthotics is specifically designed for the patientís medical needs so that it relieves strain and pressure and allows overstretched ligaments and overworked muscles to heal.