The TMJ is the temporomandibular joint; it is not a disease. TMD is temporomandibular joint dysfunction. The TMJ is simply stated the jaw joint. It is associated with any movement of the lower jaw and Dr. Robert Berger has studied and treated TMJ problems since 1972. A huge amount of study and information has emerged in the last fifty years. TMJ pain has experienced a wide range of methods and treatment. Joint pain is complicated and has diverse causes and needs evaluation and treatment only by highly qualified professionals. There are close to 300 types of headaches classified by scientific organizations.
Diagnosis in our office on many occasions eliminates dental causes of TMJ pain. Cardiac ischemia as in a myocardial infarction is fairly common and is 8 times as morbid (deadly) as chest pain because people do not call 911 for jaw pain. Jaw pain caused by cardiac ischemia (levels of oxygen) is likely to cause a pressure pain in the jaw.
The facial muscles of mastication (chewing) are associated with TMJ issues when painful in many instances. We also, at times, have damaged anatomy in our jaws that can be due to injury, abnormal development, causative habits, improper bite (occlusion) and psychological reasons such as stress, or habits like grinding.
Many conditions mimic jaw problems such as target pain that has its origin in neck and back muscles, cervical issues, bony abnormalities, tumors, sleeping positions and others.
We first like to take necessary x-rays, have our TMJ history form filled out by the patient, have verbal communication, and do a digital exam of the head and neck.
We only order a test such as an MRI or CAT scan x-ray when needed. On many occasions, the TMJ area is not the culprit. Sometimes even abscessed teeth are the cause of the pain. The massive amount of training and experience allow us at Berger Dental Group to ascertain when to treat the condition. We evaluate each case extensively prior to any recommended therapy.
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