In today’s focus on dentistry let’s talk about TMJ problems: headaches, noises in your joint, perhaps pain in your joint, and pain in your jaw.

Hi, I’m Dr. Paul Henny. Let’s spend a few minutes talking about the issue of TMJ.

TMJ problems affect roughly 40 to 50% of the population based on some surveys. Fortunately a lot of people who have TMJ problems can adapt to them, but unfortunately a percentage of people cannot and they have chronic jaw problems, in their jaw joints or their muscle system, or even the way their jaw joints function.

Let’s spend just a few minutes talking about what TMJ problems are so you can get a little more familiar with this topic and determine if this is an issue you have or not.

The TMJ to begin with, really is a broad term. It really represents the temporomandibular joint, which is the jaw joint. Problems with the jaw joint, TMJ problems, or sometimes called temporomandibular disorder, are really what people have issues with. And those problems can be related to the jaw itself, to the jaw joint, how the jaw joint functions, or even the muscle system that moves and supports this whole system. On this other model, we diagram where all the muscle systems actually begin and end.

You can see there are a lot of muscles in this area. Up in this area it’s called the temporalis muscle. Up in this area it’s called the master muscle and there are several others in this area that are involved in the issue of TMJ pain. So it’s a complex disorder and it can involve more than one thing, and the key thing is to get a diagnosis to try and figure out what’s not working right and from there figuring out some plan of action that will get things settled and get things working again.

One of the more common things that can happen with the TMJ joint is that we can have a disc that can come loose either partly or totally. It can dislodge or roll off, and that will turn into a click or a noise in the joint, and in some cases can lead to a locking of the joint. So this is one of the many things that we need to evaluate when we’re looking at a TMJ problem.

The best way to begin to evaluate a TMJ problem is to align yourself with a doctor or a dentist in particular that has appropriate training in this area and there aren’t really many that have that. I’ve been practicing in the area of TMJ for almost 30 years now, and my training has been at all of those institutes that I previously mentioned, at Piper and Dawson and Spear, as well as the Panky Institute where I taught. So I would invite you to give me a call if you have some questions about your TMJ problem, we would be happy to sit down and talk with you and see if there’s some way we can help you with it.

Thanks for listening.