TMJ Dentistry – (The temporal-mandibular joint)
This is the one area of dentistry that incorporates a lot of the other areas, even more so. It involves the teeth, the bones of the skull, the muscles, the fit of the teeth and it also includes many factors that are related to the stresses that we put on this joint. This section will include many references (in the future) of sites that offer help and suggestions on how to take care of your TMJ, how to correct situations that come up with the TMJ and some information to help you understand what is the reason that some people have TMJ problems and others don’t.
The TMJ is a unique joint in the human body, because unlike all other joints, not only does it rotate in a socket, it also “translates” OUT of the socket for us to chew. As a result, the muscles and ligaments that hold everything together need to be strong and relaxed to be available for use when needed. There is a small disk “cushion” that fits between the top bone of the TMJ and the lower bone of the the TMJ. If that disc slips either forward or backward, then the pain of bone on bone can be very uncomfortable. Since there are more than forty bones, ligaments, nerves and muscles, that are involved in pulling this joint together, we typically emphasis having a good diet, and low stress to help make sure that the TMJ doesn’t get worse.
Factors that contribute to TMJ problems include arthritic changes in the joint, trauma, skeletal discrepancies, bite irregularities, a tooth or a filling being too high, muscle tension, loss of teeth, orthodontics and stress.