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dr. wood showing patient a study model to illustrate the effects of teeth grinding

TMJ/TMD Services

Temporomandibular Joints (TMJ), or “jaw joints,” are the hinged joints on either side of the jaw that are responsible for opening and closing the mouth.

Some patients suffer from a condition known as Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction (TMD) in which one or both joints do not move in a smooth, fluid manner. For many patients, TMD can be quite painful.

As part of a complete dental examination, Dr. Wood, Dr. Spooner or Dr. Mills will evaluate your jaw joints and bite, as well as discuss any symptoms with you to uncover any possible TMD concerns.

illustration of the temporomandibular joint

TMD Symptoms & Treatment

A thorough examination will allow our dentists to take a closer look and help identify any issues that may be contributing to any discomfort you may be having.

If you have a history of teeth grinding, clenching or jaw pain, your dentist may recommend a TMJ study using x-rays and joint vibration analysis to analyze your symptoms and develop a plan to manage them.

  • There are number of causes for TMD, and they can be difficult to pinpoint in some cases. Trauma or injury, arthritis, teeth grinding (bruxism) and clenching are commonly related to TMD.
  • Symptoms of TMD include frequent headaches, facial pain and jaw muscle soreness, problems opening the mouth, neck and shoulder pain and even ear aches.
  • The long-term effects of TMJ disorders can lead to serious dental problems and pain management issues if not addressed.
  • In some cases, a therapeutic approach using a bite guard to protect the jaw joints from bruxism or clenching can help manage more chronic symptoms.

If you suffer from symptoms of TMJ disorder, please contact Wood, Spooner & Mills Dentistry to schedule a complete oral health evaluation in our conveniently located Vestavia Hills dental practice.