Our doctors understand musculoskeletal disorders (affecting muscle, bone, and joints) and are trained in treating pain conditions.
What are the causes of TMD?
Temporomandibular joint and muscle disorders, commonly called “TMD” (and sometimes mistakenly called TMJ), are a group of conditions that cause pain and dysfunction in the jaw joint and the muscles that control jaw movement. We don’t know for certain how many people have TMJ disorders, but some estimates suggest that over 10 million Americans are affected. The condition appears to be more common in women than men.
For most people, pain in the area of the jaw joint or muscles does not signal a serious problem. Generally, discomfort from these conditions is occasional and temporary, often occurring in cycles. The pain eventually goes away with little or no treatment. Some people, however, develop significant, long-term symptoms.
We don’t know what causes TMD. Dentists believe symptoms arise from problems with the muscles of your jaw or with the parts of the joint itself.
Injury to your jaw, the joint, or the muscles of your head and neck — like from a heavy blow or whiplash — can lead to TMD.
Other causes include:
Grinding or clenching your teeth, which puts a lot of pressure on the joint
Movement of the soft cushion or disc between the ball and socket of the joint
Arthritis in the joint
Stress, which can cause you to tighten facial and jaw muscles or clench the teeth
What Causes TMJ Disorder?
The TMJ is a complex joint, and attaches the jaw to the temporal skull bones with ligaments and powerful muscles. It allows you to chew food and talk by opening and closing the jaw. Many factors can cause or exacerbate inflammation in the joint, but most dentists agree that it often arises from a misalignment of the bite surface of your teeth or jaw. Additional sources may include accidental injury to the joint, such as from whiplash or a blow to the head or neck from a car wreck or fall, or some form of arthritis or other inflammatory disease response. Even in advanced cases though, we can often provide you with relief.
What are the Symptoms of TMJ Disorder?
The symptoms of TMJ disorder vary depending on the severity of the underlying issue. Normally, if the joint becomes inflamed, it can cause discomfort when you bite or chew, clicking and popping sounds, or difficulty opening the jaw. It may also cause pain or tenderness in the jaw or an aching pain around your ear. In fact, the pain can actually extend down to your neck and shoulders, and around your face as well. The pain and discomfort may be so great that they create headaches and even trigger migraines.
How We Can Help
To achieve the highest success rates in treating TMJ disorder, we use the latest forms of digital x-rays, computed tomography (CT) scans and computer software to pinpoint the exact location of the problem. Using this information, we can create custom-made oral appliances and mouth guards to help relieve pressure, ease symptoms, and keep you from grinding your teeth at night. We can also assess your bite by utilizing sophisticated equipment such as the Tekscan® system.
During your initial consultation, we will sit down with you, evaluate your health condition, and discuss your treatment options with you. It is our pleasure to improve the quality of your life, and you will never feel rushed.
Learn More About Your Treatment Options
Don’t let the pain of TMJ disorder stand in the way of enjoying every single day. Contact us today to find out more about treatment that can help lessen your pain and discomfort.
We also offer a full scope of general dentistry
, cosmetic and restorative dentistry services, drill-free dental procedures and sedation dentistry
. From porcelain veneers to dentures, and everything in between, we have the advanced skills you need at a price you can afford.