TMD, or temporomandibular disorder is the umbrella term for complications that arise from the jaw joint. TMD is often miscalled TMJ, which simply refers to the joint itself. There are a range of causes of TMD, with many of them being treated in different ways. That is why it is important to have a professional at My Dentist Friend investigate the issue in order to diagnose it correctly.
What Are the Causes of TMD?
To understand the causes, it is important to understand the symptoms. People often mistake jaw pain for earache, as the temporomandibular joint is located just in front of the ears. General pain of the jaw, as well as headaches, jaw locking and difficulty eating and chewing are all symptoms of TMD. One of the most common issues that can cause TMD is the grinding of the skull and jaw against each one another, which happens when the disk, that usually sits between them, slips. If this disk moves, erodes, or becomes damaged, it can begin to cause pain, as the skull and jaw rub against each other. Another possible cause of TMD is when the cartilage in the joint undergoes a heavy blow, possibly received during a sports game or accident, that results in it wearing away, and again, resulting in the rubbing between the two bones. Arthritis can have similar effects, and bruxism can also be a cause of TMD related issues, as the joint is under pressure for a sustained amount of time.
How Can TMD Be Treated?
When a patient with jaw pain comes into our oral surgeon’s office, they can expect one of our oral surgeons to investigate the patient’s jaw and ask questions about the symptoms. Our team will try and get to the root of the exact issue, as there can be multiple different possible causes. One of the best practices when experiencing TMD pain is to treat the jaw lightly and tenderly. A momentary pause in all sports and intense exercise, where the jaw could be at risk of damage, will help it heal. Furthermore, our oral surgeon can show our patients some helpful jaw exercises that will help relieve pain and promote healing. A referral to an orthodontist may be necessary if the jaw does not appear to be getting any better. TMD is often temporary, but when it does not subside in a short amount of time, then the solution may be to realign the jaw, via some form of retainer, as misalignment may be causing the issue. If misalignment is not the problem, then surgery may have to take place. Our oral surgeons can have an accurate look at the issue, and mend it at the root of the cause. My Dentist Friend takes TMD seriously, and our team can help you relieve jaw-related issues. No one should have to stop a sport or make changes to their diet because of TMD, and we’re here to alleviate the pain and discomfort associated with TMD. To book an appointment with us now, contact our office at 856-484-4114.