What Is TMD/TMJ?
TMJ (temporomandibular joint) disorders occur as a result of problems with the jaw, jaw joint, and surrounding facial muscles that control chewing and movement of the jaw. This joint is the hinge joint that connects the lower jaw to the skull immediately in front of the ear. The joint is flexible, which allows the jaw to move smoothly up and down and side to side to enable talking, chewing, and yawning.
Twenty to thirty percent of the adult population suffers from TMD/TMJ, and it is more common in women and in those between the ages of 20 and 40.
TMD/TMJ symptoms include:
- Clicking, popping, or grating sounds coming from the jaw
- Muscle pain that can be felt in the cheeks and temples
- Jaw joint pain
- Difficulty opening the mouth wide
- Lockjaw, or the jaw getting stuck open
- A more bulky-looking face
- Severe tension headaches that can be debilitating
What Causes TMD/TMJ?
The exact cause of TMD is unknown. It is believed that symptoms can result from a variety of conditions that directly affect the jaw muscles and joints. TMD/TMJ symptoms are most often caused by physical stress reactions such as clenching and grinding of the teeth, which commonly occur while sleeping. Additional causes include:
- Injury to the jaw, TMJ joint, or the muscles of your head and neck
- Movement of the soft cushion between the joint’s ball and socket
- Grinding or clenching of the teeth
- Dislocation of the disc in the joint
- Stress and anxiety
How Is TMD/TMJ Treated?
The treatments available are expansive. Simple and often effective treatments involve a diagnosis of chewing (occlusal) function and equilibrations of the bite (occlusion). It can also involve a stabilizing oral appliance called a nightguard or a splint, worn usually at night. Muscular injections to prevent spasm in the supporting jaw muscles are also effective. Parkhaven Dental Care doctors are trained in the diagnosis and treatment of TMJ dysfunction. Although surgical procedures are sometimes indicated, our TMJ philosophy focuses on nonsurgical treatment.
The staff at Parkhaven Dental Care is dedicated to helping you find fast relief from your TMJ symptoms. After administering a series of tests to determine the cause, Drs. Pincus, Dr. Sayek, or Dr. Dad will develop a personalized TMJ treatment plan that works in conjunction with your existing dental lifestyle. Treatments may include:
- Managing pain with a special diet
- Stretching exercises
- Anti-inflammatory medications
Symptoms include pain in the jaw, facial pain, headaches, neck aches, back aches, loss of balance, difficulty chewing, broken or ground-down teeth, and loss of supporting tooth structure (periodontal disease).
For more information regarding TMJ treatment, please contact Parkhaven Dental Care today at our Plano office (972) 416-2330, our Gunter office (903) 433-1512, or our Irving office (972) 579-1046, and start treating your TMJ today.