Treatment of TMD
What is temporomandibular joint disorder?
Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD) refers to a group of related disorders that result from problems with the jaw or jaw joint, or facial muscles involved in jaw movement. TMD can cause discomfort and pain that may be constant or intermittent. These disorders are often incorrectly referred to as TMJ, which refers only to the temporomandibular joint itself.
What are the symptoms of TMD?
If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, you may have Temporomandibular joint disorder and should visit our office for a solution.
- Chronic facial pain in the face, jaw, neck and shoulders
- Chronic facial pain in or around the ear
- Limited ability to open the mouth wide
- Difficulty chewing
- Uncomfortable bite
- Swelling on one or both sides of the face
- Clicking or popping noises when opening the mouth
- Headaches and neck aches
These symptoms may arise from any number of easily identifiable and treatable causes, including sinus infections, tooth decay or gum disease.
What are the causes of TMD?
There are many causes of TMD. Some common ones include:
- Trauma to the head or neck
- “Bad” bite or missing teeth
- Oral habits such as clenching or grinding of the teeth
- Malalignment of the upper and lower jaws
Although treatments have different effects on different people, some of the treatments may include:
- Stress-reduction exercises
- Muscle relaxants
- Low-level-laser therapy
- Change in diet to soft foods
- Avoidance of extreme jaw movements
- Mouth protectors to prevent-teeth grinding
Specific treatment options may vary greatly and are customized for each patient. One such option could be arthrocentesis which is a minimally invasive procedure that involves small needles being inserted into the joint. In this process, fluid can be irrigated through the joint, removing inflammatory byproducts and local debris. One other option could be physical therapy involving heat and ice packs. This alongside exercises could very well stretch and stengthen jaw muscles.
Even with the many treatment options available you can rest assured that our dentists will never push you into any type of treatment. They will listen to your concerns and work together with you to create a plan that is right for you. More extensive corrective treatments may take the form of surgery or injections for pain relief. Surgery for TMD may include arthroscopy or open-joint surgery.
What is bruxism?
Bruxism, or teeth-grinding, occurs when the jaws are clenched and the teeth grind against one another. Stress and anxiety are often blamed, but sleep disorders, abnormal bite, and missing or crooked teeth may also be causes. If left untreated, bruxism can lead to headaches, a sore jaw, or painful, loose or fractured teeth. It may sometimes lead to TMD.
Request a Consultation
To schedule a Temporomandibular joint disorder consultation with Dr. Gill and Dr. Kenson, call (303) 277-9600 today!