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The abbreviation TMJ is used to describe the tempromandibular joint. This is the jaw joint which is constantly moving when one eats and speaks. While the movement of the joint is controlled by a series of muscles, these muscles are greatly influenced by the teeth. Should the teeth “be in the way” they will cause a dysfunction of the entire joint apparatus. This can lead to loosening or wear of the teeth, muscle pain, grinding and clenching of one’s teeth as well as damage to the joint itself.

Treatment of the TMJ (the correct terminology for the condition is called myofacial pain and dysfunction) is tricky and requires a careful diagnosis. Treatment can range from the use of removable appliances to relax the muscles and control the forces to the teeth to an occlusal adjustment (bite adjustment to let the teeth fit better) to orthodontics to restorative dentistry.

©2010 Richard B. Kahn, DDS | Last Updated