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Michigan Head & Neck Institute

TMJ

TMJ Checklist →

Definition:

TMJ stands for your Temporomandibular Joints (jaw joints). Each person has a left and right TMJ and can experience a problem or dysfunction in only one side or both. A TMJ Dysfunction is typically referred to as a TMD, although TMJ is more commonly used by non-medical personnel in lieu of TMD to describe a problem.
There are different problems that can be categorized as a TMD. Sometimes a TM Joint can be dislocated or move improperly because of tightness in the surrounding muscles, and looseness of the TMJ disc. Although two people could have a TMD, they might have different things that are wrong with their TMJ. Dr. Klein spends significant time with each new patient to learn about their lifestyle, possible injuries, discuss imaging results, and comprise a treatment plan if a TMJ problem is diagnosed. His in-depth patient evaluations follow the teachings of his mentors, including former President John F. Kennedy’s own physician Janet Travell who was a pioneer in the study of trigger points.

Causes:

TMJ is a medical problem which (like most medical problems) has multiple causes such as:

Pre-existing bite problems

Muscle strain or jaw imbalances

Trauma to the jaw and even neck areas

Whiplash can even lead to a TMJ problem as the head tends to hyper-extend from the jaw during the sudden movements and could result in dislocation, or other injury. It can arise due to problems with your bite, muscle strain or imbalances, or damage to tissues in the head, neck and facial area. Displacement of the disk in your TMJ can be a permanent condition which may be controlled with proper care.

TMJ Whiplash Effects

 

Symptoms:

  • Headaches don’t respond to medication
  • Clicking/popping noise with jaw movement
  • Jaw and/or facial pain
  • Blurred vision
  • Pain behind the eyes
  • Light sensitivity
  • Excessive tears
  • Ear pain
  • Hearing loss
  • Ear congestion
  • Ringing/buzzing in the ears
  • Sensitivity to sounds
  • Dizziness
  • Trouble swallowing

TMJ dysfunction is called “The Great Imposter” because its symptoms can mimic those of many other conditions. If you, or someone you know, is experiencing any combination of even a few of the symptoms listed above, please talk to your doctor about a possible TMJ problem or call us today.

Treatments:

While some surgeries are available for different TMJ dysfunctions, Dr. Klein takes a conservative approach to treating the condition that even most surgeons prefer to be the first course of action. Some of the treatments offered at Michigan Head & Neck Institute include:

  • Wearing a corrective orthotic (mouthpiece) which can be adjusted as need for each patient
  • Physical therapy which can include tens unit usage, physical massaging of the area around the TMJ joints, and heat applications
  • Helpful guidance toward helping each patient understand their condition, and how to avoid harmful daily habits that might worsen their condition
  • Pain-relieving injections and other non-invasive options
  • Such treatment can be covered by insurance, so please contact our office if you would like to know if your insurance plan provides coverage

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The contents of this website, such as text, graphics, images, and other materials are for informational purposes only. While there are many commonalities among multiple TMD and sleep apnea cases, each patient is unique. Information on this website should be used to educate the reader about what they should discuss with their doctor if they are suffering from the listed symptoms. The information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Seek the advice of your physician or you may call our office with any questions you may have regarding TMD or sleep apnea. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately.