Anatomy and Function
- In the normal TMJ closed position, the disc and condyle fit in the socket, with the condyle centered on the back portion of the disc. The jaw muscles are at their resting length, and work together in a smooth motion with no sounds or pain when you chew and talk.
- In the normal TMJ open position, the disc slides forward and the condyle moves forward on the disc. The muscles work together to aid in a fluid motion with no pain or noises.
- In the abnormal TMJ position, the disc is many times ahead of the condyle, and the condyle may be pushed to the back part of the joint. There may be sounds and pain on chewing and talking. The muscles are not at their resting length when the teeth are together, and they may be working in an imbalanced manner. This can cause muscle spasm and pain.
- Diagnosis of Temporomandibular dysfunction is most often based on a patient’s history and physical examination.
- The first appointment at our office is an hour long exam and consultation. During the exam we evaluate the following:
- Pain History
- Past medical and dental history
- Past medical treatment
- Examination of the teeth, and how they fit together
- Jaw movements
- Joint sounds
- Head and neck muscle exam
After this evaluation, we will talk about what we believe the diagnosis is, and the proposed treatment. If we feel that treatment at our clinic will help you, we will recommend further diagnostic tests such as x-rays, photos, models of the teeth, and diagnostic computer tests.