The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is the joint in front of your ear which allows you to open and close your mouth and move your jaw for talking, eating and laughing. It is where the Temporal bone comes together with the Mandible. There should be space between the two bones and a disc interposed. The disc acts as a shock absorber between the two bones and allows smooth opening and closing.
In case of a TMJ disorder (TMD) symptoms range from chronic headaches and facial pain, to tinnitus (ringing in the ears), to outright hearing loss and neck or shoulder pain. Factors such as nail biting, bad posture, or psychological stress can lead to TMJ trauma. Stress and sleep disorders exacerbate jaw clenching or teeth grinding (bruxism) at night, a strong contributing factor to joint damage and chronic headaches and backaches.
Once diagnosed, there are a variety of treatment options. One type of TMJ is caused by the improper alignment of the jaws which causes clicking, popping, locking & pain; changes made to the muscles and joints can alleviate this specific malady. A plastic bite plate to treat joint inflammation by preventing the jaw muscles from fully contracting and the joints from overloading. Orthopedic techniques, including jaw repositioning devices (such as the modified Gelb appliance), restore muscles and joints to normal positions and help stop the cycle of TMJ inflammation and pain. A large percentage of patients experience relief of pain with multidisciplinary therapy. The good news is, TMD is treatable and wellness can be restored.