TMJ is the colloquial abbreviation for Temporomandibular Joint Disorder, a group of symptoms that happen when the jaw is not properly aligned. Misaligned jaws can strain the muscles surrounding the joint, which can lead to pain in the head, face, arms, shoulders, and/or back. This condition can cause headaches, sore teeth, numbness or tingling in the arms, popping in the jaw, chipped and broken teeth, and/or pain in the neck and shoulders.
TMJ can be difficult to diagnose. It is therefore important to see a doctor who has years of experience and training in detecting the symptoms associated with TMJ. If you, or someone in your family, has had any of the above symptoms, you should schedule an evaluation with a dentist as soon as possible.
During your appointment, the dentist will take your complete dental history and then conduct a thorough exam to see if your symptoms are a result of TMJ. If so, they will develop a treatment plan to relieve stress on the joints, alleviate muscle spasms, and reposition the jaw. These procedures may include physical therapy, electrical stimulation and/or an appliance to be worn in the mouth to help realign the jaw.
Once the pain is eliminated, the dentist will recommend a treatment that will stabilize the jaw in its correct position to prevent a recurrence of your TMJ symptoms.