You may spend most of your life unaware of the important little triangular-shaped joints located in front of your ears. Lined with cartilage, these joints move with a smooth, gliding motion allowing your mouth to open and close easily. However, an improper bite can damage this joint. When a bite is out of alignment the muscles that support the joint can spasm causing pain. A little extra stress, a little extra fatigue, a little change in your bite, and you may knock the whole system even further out of balance.

The resulting joint disorder can create a variety of mild to severe symptoms. The most common are muscle pain and headaches in the temple, ear, neck and shoulders. Muscle spasms can also cause the cartilage pad to become herniated and produce a popping sound as you open your mouth. In more severe cases your mouth may lock open.

Treatment for TMJ problems can vary and includes physical therapy, anti inflammatory medications and muscle relaxants for the muscle spasms. Often a special bite splint will be recommended to allow for muscle relaxation. Ultimately our goal is to protect the joint and teeth from any further damage.

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