What is Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJ / TMD)?

Northwest Portland, The Pearl District and Downtown Portland

tmjTemporomandibular joint disorder (also referred to as TMJ or TMD) is a common and frequently misdiagnosed condition centered in the connective region between the jaw and the skull that results in severe headaches and other painful symptoms.

Because TMJ/TMD symptoms are shared with other conditions including migraines, arthritis, gum disease and sinus ailments, it is often missed by general physicians and dentists without specific experience in diagnosing and treating temporomandibular joint disorder. Portland, Oregon, neuromuscular dentist Dr. JD Miller of Portland Pearl Orthodontics uses the principles of neuromuscular dentistry and advanced technology to determine the source of your TMJ/TMD and provide a custom treatment plan to relieve you of its uncomfortable symptoms.

What Causes TMJ/TMD?

TMJ/TMD derives its name from the temporomandibular joint, which connects the jaw to the skull. Surrounding this joint is a complex network of tendons, muscles, bone and nerves, including the trigeminal nerve, which is involved in biting, chewing, swallowing and registering sensation in the face.

A bite condition or a misaligned jaw can put undue stress on the sensitive components in this connective region and result in chronic shooting pain throughout the face, neck, shoulders, back and arms among other symptoms.

Diagnosing TMJ/TMD

Portland Pearl Orthodontics employs state-of-the-art technology in helping to pinpoint the source of your TMJ/TMD.

Accurate diagnosis of TMJ/TMD entails measuring aspects of your teeth and jaw, determining your jaw’s proper resting position, and mapping your jaw movement as you speak and eat. Determining the source of your TMJ/TMD provides the foundation for your custom treatment plan.

Treating TMJ/TMD

In some cases, TMJ/TMD can be treated by correcting bad oral health habits such as pen biting, ice chewing or teeth grinding. For other patients, the use of transcutaneous electrical neural stimulation (TENS) may be effective; TENS uses mild electrical stimulation to allow your jaw to settle into its natural resting position and ease your discomfort.Learn more about the treatment options for TMJ.

For TMJ/TMD patients who require bite correction, another type of orthodontic treatment such as Invisalign may be required. If left untreated, TMJ/TMD can lead to inflammation, swelling and chronic pain; it can also contribute to progressive dental problems including premature tooth wear and periodontal disease.

To learn more about TMJ/TMD treatment and diagnosis, please contact Portland Pearl Orthodontics to schedule your consultation with Portland, Oregon, neuromuscular dentist Dr. JD Miller.