Many people suffer from problems with the jaw joints. Because the TMJ is one of the most complex joints in the human body, both diagnosis and treatment can be tricky. Our dentists at Premier Dental of Ohio have the education and additional training necessary to provide you with options that help you successfully manage your TMJ problems.
What is TMJ/TMD?
TMJ stands for TemporoMandibular Joint, and each person has two of them. These joints are located just in front of your ears. The TMJ is a ball-in-socket joint, with the “ball” located on the mandible (or lower jawbone) and the “socket”, which is a part of the skull. A small disc made of cartilage separates the ball from the socket, and there are many ligaments and tendons in the joint, too. Because this unusual joint allows the ball to come out of the socket in normal function, it is easy for dysfunction to develop.
TMD stands for TemporoMandibular Dysfunction or Disorder. This occurs when problems occur in one or both of the TMJs. The problems can include a slipped disc, stretched or torn ligaments, overactive muscles, and degenerative arthritis. TMD is really an umbrella that encompasses many different problems that can occur inside these complicated joints.
What are the Signs or Symptoms of TMD?
Because TMD incorporates many different problems, the signs and symptoms vary widely. Some people are aware of their joint problems, and others have no idea that anything is wrong. Signs are the things your dentist can detect, and symptoms are the things you notice and communicate to your dentist. Some of these may overlap as both you and your dentist can detect them.
Signs of TMD
- Evidence of heavy clenching or grinding on the teeth or tissues lining the mouth
- Enlarged facial or temple muscles
- Clicking or popping sounds in one or both joints
- Limitation in how wide you can open your mouth
- Deviation in opening (where the jaw points to one side when you open your mouth)
- Unable to fully open or fully close the jaws
- Facial asymmetry
Symptoms of TMD
- Earache-type pain
- Ringing in the ears
- Facial pain or tight muscles in the cheeks
- Headaches, especially in the temple region
- Crunching or grinding sound in the joints when you open and close
- Changes in the way your teeth bite together
How Can a Premier Dentist Help Me with TMJ/TMD?
While some TMJ problems require more invasive treatment like joint surgery, most can be managed with conservative therapy. At Premier Dental of Ohio, we make a variety of appliances and splints for our patients suffering from TMD. The type of mouthpiece we make depends on the type of problem you have in the joints.
The style of appliance determines the function it carries. Some are great for relaxing the muscles in the face and temples, relieving muscle pain, tension and headaches. Others work to reduce compression on the jaw joints themselves. The important thing is working with your dentist to find the appliance that will manage your specific problem and meet your unique needs.
Schedule an Appointment with Premier Dental
Don't live with constant jaw pain any longer. One of our board certified dentists will examine your mouth and jaw to determine the right treatment to give you relief. Schedule an appointment at your local Premier Dental office to get started.