Dr. Curtis Westersund, TMJ Care Practitioner at Dentalife in Calgary downtown:
"Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ, TMD, or TMJD) is a condition that affects the joint that connects the lower jaw to the skull. The disorder can cause a wide range of symptoms, including pain in the jaw joint and surrounding muscles, difficulty opening and closing the jaw, and a clicking or popping sound when you move your jaw. If you're one of the millions of people who have ‘TMJ', you may have a lot of questions about the condition and how to manage it. Here, we'll take a closer look at some of the most frequently asked questions about TMJ:"
TMJ is not a disease. It is the accumulation of tooth and jaw strain. The goal of TMJ therapy or treatment is to manage causes and improve jaw function, rather than to find a ‘cure' a disease. Management of TMJ symptoms are a varied as the number of symptoms TMJ can cause. The majority of TMJ treatments are simple and painless.
Yes, TMJ can lead to a number of other problems, including headaches and ear pain. This is because the jaw joint and the muscles around it are connected to other structures in the head and neck, such as the temples, ears, and neck. When the jaw joint is not functioning properly, it can cause pain or tension in these other areas. Additionally, some people with TMJ may experience ear pain due to muscle tension in the jaw or to a buildup of fluid in the middle ear.
In some cases, surgery may be recommended to treat TMJ. These procedures may include arthrocentesis, arthroscopy, or open joint surgery. Surgery is only considered when all other conservative methods have been exhausted and if necessary to improve jaw function. If your symptoms persist and you have exhausted non-invasive methods, a consultation with a maxillofacial surgeon might be necessary to evaluate if surgery could be a treatment option for you.