San Jose Dentist Explains the Mechanics of TMJ Disorder

x-ray of distressed jawMany people are aware of the principles of keeping your teeth and gums healthy; brush your teeth at least twice a day, floss at least once, and refrain from snacking too often throughout the day. Coupled with regular visits to the dentist’s office for your routine dental checkup and cleaning, these tenets can help keep your smile healthy and disease-free for a lifetime. However, there is more to your oral health than what shows when you smile. For instance, healthy teeth and gums still need to move, or they would serve no purpose, and the components responsible for this movement are just as vulnerable to damage and disease as the tissues within your mouth. In fact, chronic headaches, earaches, and other craniofacial pain are commonly the result of problems with your jaw. As a dedicated dentist in San Jose, Dr. LaFrom has extensive experience helping patients find relief the dysfunction known as TMJ disorder, and today he explains how a dental condition can lead to such a diverse range of symptoms.

The Temporomandibular Joints

More commonly known joints, such as your knee and shoulder, are designed as ball-and-socket joints to allow for rotational movement. Your temporomandibular joints, or TMJs, connect your lower jaw (mandible) to the temporal bones in your skull, and unlike your knee and shoulder, they slide instead of rotate. The sliding-joint design allows your TMJs a wider range of movement, and disperses the pressure from your bite throughout the joint rather than absorbing it in one area. Considering the human bite can exert up to 200 lbs of pressure, the precise design of your jaw’s joints is vital to preserving the integrity of your teeth and gums. When these joints become damaged or misaligned, however, the muscles that surround them have to work harder to keep your mouth straight as eat and speak, and eventually the strain can damage the nerve that innervates your jaw.

The Trigeminal Nerve

The nerve that passes through your jaw, called the trigeminal nerve, also branches out through the majority of your craniofacial structure, and the input from this nerve’s branches accounts for a considerable amount of sensory input to your brain. When strained jaw muscles from a crooked bite disturb this nerve, the discomfort can manifest as severe migraines, chronic earaches, pain in the face, neck, and shoulder regions, and a number of other maladies, making accurate diagnosis difficult.

Relief from TMJ Disorder in San Jose

If you suffer from chronic craniofacial pain and have been unable to find relief, you may be a victim of TMJ disorder. To learn more, schedule a consultation with your San Jose dentist by calling LaFrom Dentistry at (408) 996-8595. Located in the 95014 area, we proudly serve patients from Cupertino, Saratoga, Campbell, Sunnyvale, San Jose, Santa Clara County, Silicon Valley, and the surrounding communities.

~ by cupertinodentist on March 23, 2013.

One Response to “San Jose Dentist Explains the Mechanics of TMJ Disorder”

  1. […] biting and chewing. Bruxism, the common habit of grinding teeth, can strain jaw joints and lead to TMJ disorder, as well. Typically, finding relief from TMJ discomfort requires correcting the issue that’s […]

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