Jaw Joint Disorders

Disorders and dysfunction in one or both of the jaw joints can develop for various reasons. The jaw joint, technically known as the Temporomandibular Joint, should glide smoothly as the mouth opens and closes. However, when the related muscles, tendons, ligaments, and cartilage are damaged or overtaxed, you may be diagnosed with a TMJ disorder. As an oral and maxillofacial specialist, Dr. Berrios has the experience to help you to identify the source of the problem as well as work towards a healthy solution.

What are the Symptoms of a TMJ Disorder?

If you clench or grind your teeth (either consciously or subconsciously) the constant and repeated strain can take a toll on your jaw joints. Disorders of the jaw joint may also arise from physical injuries, arthritis, and bite-related problems (when the teeth do not fit together evenly). In time, these problems can lead to pain, headaches, clicking, locking, speech problems, and damaged teeth.

Diagnosing and Treating TMJ Disorder

In order to regain function and harmony in respect to your jaw joints, Dr. Berrios will first perform a complete TMJ evaluation. With a confirmed diagnosis, the proper treatment options will be presented to you. TMJ disorders are typically treated with conservative measures first, moving to more aggressive surgical procedures only in the most severe cases.

Joint pain and muscle spasms can often be relieved with the use of steroid injections, anti-inflammatories, pain relievers, and/or muscle relaxers.  Custom-designed oral appliances can be worn to reduce muscle tension and maintain a more stable joint position while protecting the teeth, cartilage, and joint tissues. Some of these appliances must be worn both day and night until the joint has healed, while others can be worn only at night or as needed.

Surgical Intervention and Bite Correction

Arthroscopy, open joint repair, orthodontics, and restorative dental procedures may be recommended when the problems related to TMJ disorder have become more severe or when the condition has not responded to more conservative treatments. To schedule a complete TMJ examination and to learn more about the available treatment options, please contact the office of Dr. Berrios for an appointment today.