The temporomandibular joints, or TMJ, are the two joints located on the sides of your face, right where your lower jaw, or mandible, meets your skull. These joints work together with your jaw, as well as the nearby muscles and ligaments, to open and close your mouth and to move your jaw around. If the joints become irritated, it can cause inflammation and a significant amount of pain. OHIOSmiles can help with TMD treatment.
What Is TMD?
TMD stands for temporomandibular joint disorder. It is a blanket term that describes some different issues that can impact the health of your TMJ as well as the jawbone. These issues usually irritate the TMJ, and this irritation can then lead to inflammation as well as severe pain. In some cases, the pain can be so severe that it can make even small movements of your mouth excruciatingly difficult.
How Does TMD Happen?
There are a few different issues that can cause TMD to happen. These issues include:
- Facial trauma. These are injuries to the face that can be caused by a car accident, a slip and fall, or a sports injury.
- Bruxism. This is a condition in which you grind and clench your teeth or jaws, stress, or clenching to maintain your airway at night.
- Dislocation of your jaw. Even dislocation that occurs for just a few seconds is enough to cause tiny tears in the tissues in the joint that lead to irritation and inflammation.
- Osteoarthritis. This type of arthritis occurs when the cartilage in the joints begins to degrade.
- Rheumatoid arthritis. This type of arthritis causes joint inflammation.
Symptoms Of TMD
Pain in the TMJ and your jaw is one of the most common indications that something is wrong. It is not the only one though. Other symptoms of TMD include:
- Facial pain and swelling near the TMJ and at the jaw.
- Trouble opening your mouth. You may find it difficult, if not impossible, to eat, speak, yawn, or otherwise move your mouth in any way.
- Clicking, popping, or grinding sounds or sensations in the joint when you move your mouth.
- Your jaw may temporarily lock open or closed. This is a condition often called lockjaw, and it can make it impossible to move your mouth for a certain amount of time.
- You may also experience headaches, earaches, neck pain, shoulder pain, or even back pain.
Diagnosing The Issue
To provide you with the best treatment for your TMD, we need to determine the what is causing it in the first place. This requires a thorough oral exam. We look at your teeth for wear patterns and alignment issues. Your jaw is checked for proper alignment. In addition to looking at the visible structures of your mouth, we also take X-rays. X-rays provide us with a look at the hidden structures of your mouth, including the roots of your teeth and your jawbone. With an accurate diagnosis, we can then provide you with the most effective treatment plan.
Treatments For TMD
One of the most common treatments for TMD is an orthotic splint. The orthotic splint relines your jaw and helps relax your muscles. it is a custom fit appliance that is designed to be worn during the day, night, or both depending on your treatment needs. In addition to the orthotics, Botox can also be used to treat TMD. Botox relaxes the muscles and reduces, possibly eliminates facial pain, caused by TMD. You do not have to suffer or live with the pain associated with TMD. If you suffer from jaw pain, facial pain, headaches or migraines, and it’s interfering with your quality of life, call OHIOSmiles today to schedule your appointment.