TMD (Temporo-Mandibular Joint Disorders)
Temporo-Mandibular Joint Disorders (TMD) are a series of conditions related to the Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) that connects the lower jaw to the base of the skull, and affects a wide variety of people. TMD may be characterized by severe headaches, jaw pain of varying degrees, grinding teeth, or an intermittent ringing in the ears. The vast majority of TMD sufferers are unaware that the root cause of these problems is something that a dentist can effectively treat.
The symptoms of TMD may be debilitating and can greatly interfere with every day life. The comfort and general well being of the patient is at the heart of the dental practice, so pain relief is the first consideration of the dentist. The dentist is able to test, diagnose, and devise an immediate plan to treat the underlying causes of the TMJ Disorder.
Reasons for treating TMD
TMJ Disorder 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.
A common cause of TMD is the misalignment of the teeth, often called “bad bite.” It is possible for the dentist to realign or adjust the teeth without the need for painful or expensive surgeries. The realignment/adjustment may stop the pounding headaches, the jaw pain, and the dizziness.
The grinding teeth symptom (Also called Bruxism) 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. Untreated TMD is one of the prime underlying factors in eroded jawbones and loose teeth.
It is important for anyone experiencing the symptoms of TMD to visit the dentist for an exact diagnosis.
What does treating TMD involve?
TMD could be a result of several different problems. A Bad Bite is common, but an injury resulting from a blow to the meniscus cartilage is also a possibility. Initially, the dentist will thoroughly examine the jaw area, the patients bite, take x-rays, and review the patient’s history in order to make an accurate diagnosis and recommend necessary treatment.
Once a firm diagnosis is attained, there are several ways in which relief can be provided. A specially molded and adjusted bite guard can be created to stop teeth grinding during the night. A bite relationship analysis may be recommended by the dentist. 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.
A better option is to change the shape of the teeth and get rid of the bad bite completely, often called “realignment.” This is especially useful because it alleviates TMJ symptoms and may improve the aesthetic appearance of the teeth as well. 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. It is not a painful procedure, and it is one the dentist has performed with great success numerous times. As with any procedure, the dentist will be happy to answer questions and discuss symptoms, options, and treatments.
If you are experiencing any symptoms of TMJ, we encourage you to contact our office today to schedule an appointment.