Got jaw pain? Pickens Family Dentistry can help with TMJ/TMD treatment. TMJ stands for temporomandibular joint. TMD stands for temporomandibular joint disorder. The main difference between the two is simply that TMJ refers to the joint itself and TMD refers to disorders characterized by inflammation or misalignment of the TMJs.
If you feel you are suffering from TMD, call us today so we can get you evaluated and treated right away!
What Is TMD?
If you are experiencing some pain or tenderness in your jaw, ears, face, and neck you could be experiencing TMD. TMD refers to inflammation or malalignment of the TM joints. The term “TMD” can be considered a broad definition or term referring to a variety of similar problems that are all related to the joints connecting your jaw to your cheekbone.
TMD can be classified into three different categories:
- Myofascial Pain: This is the most common form of TMD. Patients will feel discomfort or pain in the muscles that control the jaw, neck, and shoulder as well as the surrounding tissues.
- Internal Derangement of the Joint: Having a dislocated jaw, displaced disk, or injury to the rounded end of the jawbone is a type of TMD.
- Degenerative Joint Disease: Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis in the jaw joint is a form of TMD.
What Are the Signs and Symptoms of TMJ & TMD?
The TMJs are some of the most complex joints in the body. These joints are important in allowing the lower jaw (mandible) to move up and down, side to side, and forward and back.
Having a mandible that is properly aligned allows for smooth muscle actions like chewing, yawning, swallowing, and talking can occur naturally. When the important structures of the jawbone such as muscles, ligaments, and bones are not aligned, several problems can occur.
Here is a list of some of the symptoms you might be experiencing if you have TMD:
- Jaw discomfort and soreness
- Pain behind the eyes or in the face, neck, shoulder, or back
- Earaches or ringing in the ears
- Clicking or popping of the jaw
- Locking of the jaw
- Limited mouth motions
- Clenching or grinding of the teeth
- Headaches or dizziness
TMD can be caused by several things but most commonly it can be caused by stress, grinding of the teeth, trauma/injury, arthritis, or displacement of the discs within the TM joints. If you are experiencing any of these signs or symptoms, please meet with Dr. Pickens to determine if you are suffering from TMD.
After visiting with our dentist to determine if you are suffering from TMD and not other causes of pain such as tooth decay or arthritis, our dentist might recommend that physical therapy be a good course of action.
A physical therapist will take time to discuss your condition and understand what activities make your symptoms better or worse. During your physical therapy evaluation, they might run several tests to understand the severity of your TMD condition. The evaluation might include:
- Assessment of your posture
- Measurement of your neck’s range of motion
- Measurement of your jaw motion
- Palpation of structures around your jaw
- Measuring the strength of the jaw and surrounding muscles.
There are a variety of treatments the physical therapist might recommend for your TMD. These treatments are designed to decrease inflammation and pain, improve posture, and help you regain the normal function of your jaw.
Botox is often used for cosmetic purposes to help people look and feel younger. However, Botox is also used for facial pain, headaches, and even TMD! Botox for TMJ disorders may help relieve some common symptoms such as teeth clenching and headaches.
Botox works by relaxing tense jaw muscles and alleviating pain. Some patients have had their TMD symptoms alleviated for up to 3 months when they receive the Botox treatment.
Custom Splints and Bite Guards
At Pickens Family Dentistry, we can help evaluate your TMJ disorder needs and design custom splints or bite guards to help support and stabilize your jaw joints. While splints and night guards sound similar, they’re not quite the same thing.
TMD Splints: Splints help provide more vertical support and are typically intended to move the lower jaw, guiding it to a more natural position. A patient could be required to wear a splint for a few weeks to several months.
Night Guards: A night guard is used for patients who have chronic clenching or grinding of the teeth during sleep. Grinding can cause tooth wear, fractures, and many other issues. Night guards are mainly used to protect the teeth, joints, and facial muscles during sleep.
Our custom treatments are perfect to help you with your TMJ disorders! Call today to schedule your appointment with us!
We may recommend oral surgery to correct TMJ disorder if you are experiencing TMJ locking, continuous facial or intense pain, the inability to eat or drink, and facial injuries due to trauma or disease. There are two types of jaw surgery for TMJ disorders:
- Arthroscopic Jaw Surgery: Provides easy access to administer mediation.
- Arthroplasty (Total Joint Replacement) Jaw Surgery: Replaces the ball and socket of the joint with titanium prosthetics.
Call Us Today to Get Your Life Back
Suffering from jaw pain isn’t something we want you to live with! Call us today to schedule an appointment so we can get you feeling well again!