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Disorder of the TMJ, or Temporomandibular disorder, TMD
The temporomandibular joint, more commonly referred to as the TMJ or jaw joint, helps in the basic opening and closing movements of the jaw. Unfortunately, this joint is a common area for recurring pain. Our temporomandibular joints and jaw muscles are involved in making chewing, speaking, swallowing, making facial expressions and even breathing happen! Located on either side of our heads, they make opening and closing your mouth a motion that you can actually accomplish.
When this complex system of muscles, ligaments, discs and bones encounters an obstacle that keeps it from functioning the way it is meant to, this can lead to pain and discomfort in the form of a disorder of the TMJ, or a temporomandibular disorder, TMD. The pain associated with this is usually described as a dull, aching pain that comes and goes in the jaw joint and surrounding areas.
In some of our designated TMJ dysfunction treatment clinics, we offer an exam that evaluates the joint tissue in the hinge of the jaw. Possible problems include swelling, deterioration of the joint tissue or damaged joint tissue. One of the best treatments for TMD can be braces. TMD is often caused by issues with your bite. And braces correct that bite through the alignment of the teeth, not only next to each other, but across the jaws. Jaw clenching and teeth grinding, or bruxism, are two of the most common issues that can be solved by braces, because braces are designed to help get the teeth into better alignment.
TMD symptoms include:
- Chronic headaches
- Painful clicking, popping or grating the jaw when opening or closing the mouth
- Neck and shoulder pain
- A bite that feels “off”
- Jaw muscle pain and stiffness
- Limited range of movement or jaw locking
- Ear pain, pressure, fullness
- Vision problems
TMD Causes include:
- Tooth and jaw alignment
- Stress and teeth grinding
- Autoimmune diseases
There is no medical or dental specialty of qualified experts trained in the care and treatment of TMD. This means that you, the patient, should first and foremost educate yourself. Knowledgeable patients are better adept at communicating with healthcare providers, asking questions, and making informed decisions.
We will work with you to determine if your medical insurance covers TMD/TMJ treatments as well as to evaluation the most affordable TMD relief treatments for you.