The temporomandibular joints – or the TMJ, are a pair of small joints on each side of your face, located just in front of the ears. For most people, the TMJ functions smoothly and it is taken for granted. But for those who have a problem, the pain caused by TMJ dysfunction (TMD) can be unbearable.
A number of factors can cause or contribute to TMJ disorder. In some cases, the joint itself is not functioning properly. TMD can also be caused by dental problems such as teeth that don’t fit together properly or the persistent grinding or clenching of teeth.
Not only does TMD cause pain in the joints, it can cause migraine headaches, facial pain, neck and/or shoulder pain, earaches, tooth wear and a long list of other problems.
TMJ Dysfunction Explained
TMJ dysfunction and occlusal disease can cause a wide range of problems. Here is a video that explains how a cracked tooth can be the result of instability in the occlusion/TMJ.
How Is TMJ Disorder Diagnosed?
Most dentists are not trained to diagnose, treat – or even look for TMJ related problems. Asheville dentist, Dr. Stephen A. Miller is both a student and faculty member of the Dawson Academy, where he focuses his continuing education on complete dentistry.
Looking at the oral system as a whole, Dr. Miller understands how important the jaw joints are to the overall health and wellness of the smile. Diagnosis of TMD begins with complete evaluation:
- Review of medical, dental and pain history
- Brief social and psychological history
- Physical examination of head and neck, including muscles, jaw joints, nerves and mouth
- Range of motion assessment
- Doppler evaluation (listening to jaw joints)
- Bite analysis
- Evaluation for referral with physical therapist (if needed)
- Models of teeth and bite (if needed)
Once the exam is complete, Dr. Miller will sit with you to discuss treatment options. Together, you will create a plan that will put you on the path to a more comfortable life.
Schedule a TMJ Consultation
Find out if your facial pain or tooth wear is caused by TMJ disorder. Contact our Asheville dental office to schedule an appointment with Dr. Stephen Miller. He will evaluate your condition and recommend the best treatment plan. Call 828.348.8858 or request an appointment online.