“TMJ” is a term people commonly use to describe problems with the Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ). In actuality, the joint itself is called the TMJ, but when people have TMJ-associated conditions, we refer to it as TMD (Temporomandibular Disorder).
Can I get “TMJ” from dental work?
The short answer is no. Generally speaking, the most common problem patients report after dental visits — especially long dental visits — is muscle soreness in the area of the TMJ (around and in front of the ears). And this makes sense, as with any joint area (where tendons, muscles, and ligaments are present), overuse or prolonged use can lead to discomfort. Think of your knees after a very long run, or your back after sitting for a very long time at a movie. To learn more about these muscle problems and how to treat them, please look at our TMJ muscle spasm page.
Where does TMJ come from?
It’s important to clarify that TMD (not TMJ) is the term that we use to describe a number of conditions that can lead to TMJ discomfort. These conditions include problems with the muscles, ligaments, and/or tendons around the joint, with the joint capsule itself (usually due to trauma), or problems using the joint due to excessive or long-term wear and tear (arthritis). The reason that dental work doesn’t “cause” TMJ per se is that dental treatment doesn’t lead to the inciting factors listed above. And with the muscle soreness that is often associated with keeping your mouth open for a long period of time at the dentist, this situation should be considered more of a muscle strain vs. a true TMJ problem.
Let Dr. Segulyev take a look
If you’d like to learn more about the signs and symptoms of TMD, you can review this page on our website. And as Dr. Segulyev is a general dentist with extensive training in evaluating and treating TMD, you can also contact us to make an appointment to be seen.