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The Temporomandibular Joint

Dr. Caren Fortin, BHK, DC - Doctor of Chiropractic

Ever heard someone say they have TMJ issues? Ever wonder what the heck they are talking about? Well, the TMJ is your temporomandibular joint, aka your jaw joint. Now, did you know that jaw pain, clicking or popping is also something that chiropractors can treat? We do!

Let’s back up and get to know the TMJ a bit better. The TMJ is composed of your movable jaw portion, called your mandible, that connects with your temporal bone of your skull right in front of the ear. In between the two bones is a small squishy disc that responds and adapts to movements of the jaw. In a healthy temporomandibular joint, the disc acts to absorb stress within the joint, as well as improve fluidity of jaw movement.

There are 4 main muscles that control jaw movements (masseter, temporalis, medial pterygoid and lateral pterygoid), although there are other contributory muscles. These muscles connect around the TMJ and one attaches directly into the disc. Sometimes these muscles can get really sore as a result of having to hold your mouth open during a dental appointment, clenching or grinding your teeth at night and gum chewing to name a few. Ear pain, chronic neck pain, headaches, tooth pain, clicking and popping (with or without pain) can all be related to the TMJ.

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If you or someone you know is having any of the symptoms listed above, a chiropractic visit may help alleviate them. A history of the jaw symptoms will be explored followed by a physical examination of at least the jaw and neck. Treatment, possibly including muscle work and adjusting or mobilizing joints, would focus on these areas. Often with TMJ issues, one of the keys to success is to address the underlying reasons for the issue in the first place. Removal of stress habits (nail biting, gum chewing, pen chewing) or choosing to include meditation, yoga or exercise in your day may help in the long-term to decrease the symptoms that you are having.

Myself or Dr. Tara Brown are happy to help you combat your TMJ issues! Call the clinic today at 905.465.4595 to book an appointment.

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