Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder can affect the function of the entire jaw and lead to symptoms like clenching, grinding, pain, and headaches. Dr. Tim Kelly uses sophisticated imaging technology to properly diagnosis the condition. Once you receive a diagnosis, he can discuss treatment options to restore a proper bite alignment and relieve pressure on your jaw joints.
TMJ is an acronym. It stands for temporomandibular joint. It's the temporal bone in the side of our head, the mandible, and how the two relate to each other. It's the temporomandibular joint and it's how our jaw is hinged to our cranial base or to our head.
The disorder is involved with many structures; it's not just the joint itself. The joint position is determined by the position of the teeth, and so it involves how we speak, how we swallow, and how we chew.
The position of the joint can be influenced by the teeth. In some patients, if there is not an accurate alignment of the teeth with the jaw, over time it starts to fail. We'll notice patients that over time they wear their teeth down. They get shorter and shorter because they are clenching and grinding their teeth. That's a sign that they have a TMJ problem.
You know, the diagnosis of a TMJ disorder can be quite complicated in one sense, but it's really quite simple in another sense. We just look at it and make sure the body is functioning how nature intended. So at times we will take, a thorough diagnosis would be taking photographs of a patient's teeth. We would take models of their teeth. We take a scan called a CBCT which is a three-dimensional CAT scan to look at the joint itself. That allows us to really come to an understanding of how that patient's joint and teeth are functioning. If they are not functioning ideally or how nature intended, then our goal is to get them to function as ideally as possible.