Are You Dealing with TMJ Issues? 

Temporomandibular disorder (TMD) is often characterized by pain or tenderness in the temporomandibular joint of the jaw more commonly known as TMJ. The TMJ is a complex joint that enables us to chew, swallow, yawn and speak.

Emergency - TMJ jaw-pain-lady-holding-her-jaw

It also has a wide range of movement. It is surrounded by muscles and ligaments that work in conjunction with the joint itself. TMD can be the reason for severe pain for some and can have effects in varying degrees. Actually, 33% of people have had some type of TMJ issue over their lifetime.

Causes of TMD

The causes of TMD can vary from an injury to arthritis or even a combination of the two. It’s believed that clenching or grinding your teeth can exacerbate pain in the joint. Sometimes chewing gum for too long or too often can cause TMJ pain as well.

There also seems to be a correlation between stress and TMD, but it is unknown if stress causes pain in the joint or if stress is the result of joint pain. In severe cases, pain in the TMJ can have life-altering effects on your daily life. Diagnosis should be made by a medical professional, who can get to the root of your discomfort and determine what type of TMD you are suffering from. There is a wide spectrum of disorders related to TMJ.

Root Canal Check

Treatment Options

Unfortunately for those suffering from TMD, the options for treatment are limited. Depending on the type of TMD, patients may find relief from massage therapy, acupuncture, and/or physical therapy.

Many people are aware that they clench or grind and Dr. Crane will look at your teeth for any signs (wearing of the tooth structure.)

We often as dental professionals can assist by creating a custom night guard to ease the discomfort of clenching and grinding. We will also ask about your history of headaches or migraines and muscle discomfort in the joint. A night guard is often a good place to start to find relief.

Dental Treatment

If you suffer from TMD, please let us know before dental treatment. Dental appointments can cause discomfort which can be worsened by long periods of having your mouth open. When we are aware, we will try to accommodate this and schedule your appointments to help make you more comfortable.

We would love to discuss your options for treatment and may refer you to a specialist for further treatment. Please feel free to ask one of us if you have any questions at your next appointment.

References

Mayo Clinic:

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/tmj/symptoms-causes/syc-20350941

Canadian Dental Association: https://www.cda-adc.ca/en/oral_health/talk/complications/temporomandibular_disorder/

American Family Physician-Diagnosis and Treatment of Temporomandibular Disorders:

https://www.aafp.org/afp/2015/0315/p378.html

Journal of Manual and Manipulative Therapy-Management and Treatment of Temporomandibular Disorders: 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2813497/

 

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