Temporomandibular Joint Disorders | TMJ

Up to 12% of Americans suffer from jaw joint and muscle problems.

The jaw joints and muscles are some of the most utilized in the body. When they are not working properly, it can lead to significant pain and difficulty eating or speaking.

Our providers are some of the most experienced in western North Carolina in treating children, teens, and adults with jaw joint and muscle problems. Our goal is to understand your unique needs and provide care based on the latest scientific evidence and proven surgical and nonsurgical techniques.

What causes jaw joint problems?

The jaw joints – also called the temporomandibular joints – are located on the right and left sides of the face in front of the ear. The temporomandibular joints are made up of the lower jaw and the base of the skull separated by a cartilage disc. This cartilage disc allows the jaw to rotate and slide against the base of the skull – letting us speak and chew normally. The joints are held together by the surrounding ligaments and muscles.

Trouble with the jaw joints and muscles typically begins with injury. This may be a direct injury to the joints, as occurs in a car accident, fall, or physical assault. More commonly, it is caused by small, repeated injuries to the joints that build over time, as occurs with clenching or grinding of the teeth. In rare cases, the joints are injured by the immune system mistakenly attacking the joint tissues, as occurs in rheumatoid or psoriatic arthritis.

When the damage caused by injury is greater than our bodies ability to heal or adapt – disease will result.