What does TMJ mean?
TMJ is an abbreviation for the temporomandibular joint. The TMJ is the joint that connects the temporal bone (a portion of the skull bone) with the mandible (the lower jaw bone). The TMJ is actually two joints in one, with the joints being connected by the jawbone. The TMJ is one of the most complicated and sensitive joints in the body. There are many soft tissues surrounding it, and more than one third of all nerves that go the brain pass near this joint.
Your teeth dictate the TMJ’s function. While your teeth are “passive” components of your upper and lower jaw, they have a very specific way they must fit together in order to function properly. As far as the brain is concerned, your tooth position has priority over the joint position. Thus, your TMJ is forced by the surrounding muscles to move in whatever ways are necessary to allow your teeth to function properly. When this happens, the muscles can get caught between the tooth (priority) position and the jaw position. This compromising position can cause the muscles to spasm, resulting in facial pain and discomfort.
Much of the TMJ discomfort people experience is the result of these muscle spasms. TMJ disorders involve the dysfunction of both the joint and its associated muscles. Because a number of the problems associated with this disorder are not in the joint itself, the condition is more accurately referred to as TMD which stands for temporomandibular disorder. The majority of TMDs are caused by bite problems that result in muscle pain. Some patients however, have clicking, popping or grinding noises in their jaw joints in addition to pain in the surrounding areas. Treatment of TMDs includes a wide range of options depending on the underlying cause and severity of the problem.
TMJ disorders involve the dysfunction or derangement of both the jaw (temporomandibular) joint and its associated muscles. Because a number of the problems associated with this disorder are not in the joint itself, the The majority of TMDs are caused by bite problems that result in muscle pain in the facial area. Some patients however, have pain or dysfunction that is caused by an internal derangement of the actual jaw joint, or some other maxillofacial problem. Treatment of TMDs includes a wide range of options depending on the underlying cause and severity of the problem. The elimination (or significant reduction) of pain by relieving muscle spasms and inflammation in the facial area is frequently aided by the use of BOTOX® Therapeutic injections.
BOTOX® is most recognizable as a cosmetic treatment used to reduce facial wrinkles. You may be asking yourself then, what role could BOTOX®possibly play in my dental care? Long before BOTOX® injections were used to beautify the face, they were used to address various medical conditions including facial tics, involuntary teeth clenching, and other maxillofacial problems. At Pollock Dental, we utilize BOTOX® Therapeutic injections to assist patients with TMJ dysfunction. TMJ pain can be difficult to manage with traditional treatments, and pain medications are often ineffective. BOTOX® Therapeutic injections are used to reduce the facial pain associated with TMJ, and to minimize muscle hyperactivity which can hinder the effectiveness of removable appliances used to treat TMDs. BOTOX® Therapeutic injections also aid in the treatment of pain due to other conditions such as bruxism (teeth grinding) and malocclusion, as well as migraine headaches. Because targeted injections of BOTOX® Therapeutic relax the muscles surrounding the jaw (temporomandibular) joint, they are also quite effective in reducing the stress placed on new dental implants, and ensuring the success of new dental restorations.