TMD Learning Center
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Are you experiencing headaches, ringing in the ears, neck pain, popping in the jaw? The problem may lie in the alignment of the jaw and the muscles involved. This syndrome is known by several names such as TMJ (temporomandibular joint syndrome) and TMD (temporomandibular joint disorder), and affects millions of Americans every year! Your TMJ is the joint that connects your jawbone to your skull. This joint allows you to comfortably move your jaw. When working correctly, you are able to perform simple tasks such as yawning, speaking, and eating without any pain. When this joint is misaligned then it can’t function properly, creating jaw pain and other discomforts! If you think you may have TMD, call us today to set up a consultation. Your dentist can determine if you have TMD and help set up a treatment plan!
The TMJ connects the jawbone to the skull and works like a moving hinge. When this connection is out of place or dysfunctions, stress in the muscles may radiate throughout the head, neck, and even involve the back. The pain may be constant or intermittent, lasting minutes, hours, days, or even years. Many patients describe the pain as a migraine headache and even experience ringing in the ears (tinnitus). To combat TMD, treatment can be given that will get your joint functioning properly again.
TMD most commonly affects adults 19 and older, although TMD can affect teens and children as well. Women report more pain from TMD while men experience much or more damage to the teeth, gums, bones and joints.
During your dental visit, your dentist can determine the treatment that is best for you. Typically, treatment of TMD includes self-care, therapy, medication and the use of devices such as a mouthguard or bite guard. If these methods don’t work, other treatment options include occlusal correction or coronoplasty, constructing an orthotic to orthopedically align the lower jaw to the cranium, or surgery. The key to treating TMD, is getting the muscles out of spasm, relaxed and happy.
Common symptoms include, but are not limited to:
- Facial pain
- Jaw joint pain
- Back, Neck, cervical pain
- Headaches (tension type)
- Pain in the occipital (back), temporal (side), frontal (front), or sub-orbital (below the eyes)
- Tinnitus, ear pain, and ear congestion feelings
Other symptoms include difficulty chewing, toothache, joint clicking, joint tenderness, joint locking and muscle spasms. Teeth sensitivities and aches, ear congestion feelings, pain behind the eyes, tingling in the arms and fingers, dizziness, etc., all relate to the dental aspect of TMD. Many of these symptoms are related to and are associated with the living tissues that affect the mandibular position and in turn affect upper to lower teeth relationships and vice versa.
There are a number of things that can cause TMD, but in most cases TMD disorders stem from a condition called malocclusion, meaning that your upper and lower teeth do not close together in the correct way. When teeth are misaligned, they cannot provide the support the muscles in the face need for chewing and swallowing. These muscles are then forced into a strained position, resulting in pain throughout the face, head, arms, shoulders, and back.
The best thing to do is call your dentist! Getting a professional opinion and finding out the best treatment is a great first step. TMD left untreated can lead to much discomfort such as frequent headaches, difficulty chewing and ear pain.
While there are many factors that could result in a headache, TMD can certainly be one of them. More commonly, patients suffer from tension headaches which are simply (as the name implies) muscles that are tense and in spasm, causing pain. Muscles can tense and spasm with overuse, improper posture, skeletal misalignments and improper function of the movable parts of the body. TMD usually causes you to tightly clench your jaw and that stress and pressure you put on the jaw bone can promote this type of headache.
Surgery is not the first option when it comes to treating TMD. Once all the basic options of treatment are used and you continue to feel pain is surgery then considered.
Simple tests include checking your posture and the mobility of your neck. You can also check your jaw placement and the state of your teeth. However, if you feel like you might have TMD, we strongly recommend that you visit a professional and let them have the final say.
TMD Treatment Options
TMD is usually temporary and can be treated in two ways called conservative or reversible. Both the conservative and reversible options are simple treatments that can help relieve the pain temporarily. Some of the methods include eating softer foods, applying heat and ice packs to the jaw, and avoiding extreme jaw movements. Another option is physical therapy or taking anti-inflammatory drugs to ease the discomfort. If the pain doesn’t go away after you applied all of these methods, then you should talk to your dentist about surgery which involves injections in the areas of pains. It is not a permanent solution, but it can help decrease the amount of pain. Don’t live with the discomfort any more! See why TMD treatment could be the best option for you!
Benefits of TMD Treatment
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TMD can have a hindrance on your quality of life and can also have a serious affect on your overall oral health. Discomfort in your jaw can not only prevent you from things like eating but it can also damage your teeth. If you are in the Baton Rouge, LA area, don’t live with the pain anymore and book a free consultation! Skip the pain and discomfort that comes with TMD. Contact our office today and our team will be happy to put together a treatment plan that will help you reach your smile goals and regain your health!