TMJ in Elmhurst, IL
Don’t let painful TMD symptoms control your life.
At Scharfenberg Dental we alleviate TMD symptoms with simple, non-surgical treatments!
The Temporomandibular Joint
Your temporomandibular joints connect your lower jaw to your skull. The temporomandibular joint essentially functions like a ball and socket; the ball of the lower jaw (called the condyle) fits into the socket of the skull (glenoid fossa). In between the condyle and glenoid fossa is a small piece of cartilage (articular disc) that serves as a cushion between the ball and socket.
If your jaw is healthy, the articular disk will stay between the ball and socket as you move your lower jaw. In a healthy TMJ the articular disk absorbs the pressure caused by the ball and socket joint, while a collection of muscles and ligaments work together to move the lower jaw, and keep it in the correct position.
Patients with healthy TMJs do not experience pain in the jaw, head, or neck when opening and closing their mouths. These patients also enjoy a full range of motion in their jaws; generally these patients can fit three fingers into their open mouths without discomfort or jaw popping.
The Basics of TMD
Unfortunately, not every TMJ is a healthy TMJ. When a patient suffers from an irregular/dysfunctional temporomandibular joint he or she is said to have TMD (temporomandibular disorder).
Some common symptoms of TMD include:
- Jaw pain
- Neck pain
- Ear pain (this may also manifest as a feeling of stuffiness in the ears)
- A ringing sensation in the ears
- Popping noises when you attempt to open your jaw
- Shoulder and back pain
- Limited jaw mobility
- Tingling in the upper extremities
As we have already discussed, in order for your TMJ to function normally, the articular disk (small piece of shock-absorbing cartilage) needs to stay between the ball and socket of your jaw joint. The articular disk keeps the ball and socket from actually touching, so the bone tissues do not scrape against one another.
When a patient’s bite is not aligned, the TMJ can become dislocated, and the articular disk slips out of place—this causes TMD. The clicking and popping noises that TMD patients hear when they move their jaws are actually the sounds of the jaw joint becoming dislocated.
Specifically, in these instances, the articular disk tends to slip forward, and the ball of the lower jaw pushes against nerves in the socket of the skull.
Here are some common dental problems that contribute to TMD:
- Narrow upper jaw
- Front teeth angled backward
- Uneven molar bite surface
If left untreated, TMD will intensify and become more debilitating and painful. When the bone tissues of the ball and socket joint are allowed to rub against one another for a long time, this can lead to osteoarthritis. Chronic TMD may also make it impossible for the patient to fully open his or her mouth.
If you notice any signs or symptoms of TMD, seek treatment right away. Prompt treatment greatly improves a patient’s long-term prognosis.
Why TMD sufferers choose Scharfenberg Dental for TMD relief:
Simple, Non-invasive Solutions
Our office treats the root of TMD—not just the symptoms—using unobtrusive, non-surgical options. We can often treat TMD symptoms by simply altering the bite. Clunky, full mouth guards are a thing of the past—at Scharfenberg Dental we use a small comfortable appliance that fits neatly over the front 4 teeth. This effective solution is significantly easier to use than traditional TMD treatments.
We’re here for You
Our dental team is willing to work with your schedule to help you get TMD relief. We offer appointments for TMD treatment outside of regular business hours, and we are available for emergency TMD treatment.