TMJ/TMD (Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction)

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The symptoms of TMJ disorders are debilitating and can greatly interfere with everyday life. The comfort and general well-being of the patient are at the heart of our dental practice, so pain relief is the first consideration of the dentist. At TLC Dental, we can test, diagnose, and devise an immediate plan to treat the underlying causes of TMJ disorders to provide you with relief and higher quality of life.  

What is the TMJ?

TMJ stands for temporomandibular joint. This is a muscle group bound to your upper jaw on either side of your head. The TMJ functions much like a hinge, allowing you to open and close your mouth, chew, and speak normally.  

What is TMD?

Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction (TMD) is a muscular condition that affects millions of Americans every year. TMD is oftentimes characterized by severe headaches, jaw pain of varying degrees, bruxism (grinding teeth), and an intermittent ringing in the ears, but can present in every patient differently.  

What Causes TMJ Disorders?

The vast majority of TMD sufferers are unaware that the root cause of these problems is something that a dentist can effectively treat. Common causes include but aren’t limited to:  

  • Bite misalignment
  • Teeth grinding
  • Injury
  • Arthritis  

What Are the Symptoms of TMD?

The grinding teeth symptom is particularly common and usually occurs at night. The grinding will eventually erode the structure of the teeth and lead to much more severe dental problems in the future. Other common symptoms include:

  • Tightness or tenderness in the jaw
  • Ear pain
  • Difficulty chewing or speaking
  • Locking of the jaw join making it difficult to open and close your mouth
  • Swelling
  • Cracking, popping, or grating noises emanating from your jaw joint

What Are the Reasons for Treating TMJ Disorders?  

TMD sufferers report that their symptoms generally worsen during periods of prolonged or unexpected stress and that intense outbreaks of the condition can lead to neck pain and dizziness. Untreated TMJ disorder is one of the prime underlying factors in eroded jawbones and loose teeth. It is important for anyone experiencing the symptoms of TMJ to visit the dentist for an exact diagnosis.

How Do You Treat TMJ Disorders?

Initially, the dentist will thoroughly examine the jaw area, the patient's bite, take x-rays, and review the patient’s history to make an accurate diagnosis and recommend necessary treatment. Once the dentist attains a firm diagnosis, there are many treatment options.

A specially molded bite guard can stop teeth grinding during the night. The dentist can also provide advice on relaxation techniques which will lessen the effects of stress. As a last alternative, the dentist is also able to prescribe muscle relaxants.

The realignment of the teeth and jaw is another common treatment option. Realignment involves adjusting the relationship between how the upper teeth come together with the lower teeth. This may require new restorations and/or adjusting the natural teeth as well. This is especially useful because it alleviates TMJ symptoms and may improve the aesthetic appearance of the teeth as well.

Do You Need Treatment for a TMJ Disorder?  

An undiagnosed and untreated TMJ disorder can worsen over time threaten your overall health. If you are experiencing any symptoms of TMJ, we encourage you to contact our office today to schedule an appointment.

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