Temporomandibular Disorder, or TMD, is a group of conditions that cause dysfunction of the muscles, ligaments and bones that make up the temporomandibular joints. These joints are located on each side of the head and facilitate the opening and closing of the mouth. When they are not working properly, the result is often pain and other symptoms that are disruptive to a person’s quality of life. According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, as many as 1 in 10 Americans has some form of temporomandibular joint disorder.
Though only your dentist can accurately diagnose TMD, there are some common signs and symptoms to watch out for. Most people who suffer with the condition will experience jaw and facial pain accompanied by other symptoms, such as headaches, facial tenderness and a jaw that locks, ‘clicks’, or ‘pops’ when opening and closing the mouth. People with severe TMJ disorder may even have difficulty chewing, drinking or speaking due to limited mobility in the jaw.
Most people with TMJ disorders are born with a genetic pre-disposition to the condition. For example, many of the patients who visit our Jacksonville, Florida dental office are diagnosed with TMD as a result of poor bite alignment. However, some people develop TMJ problems after suffering an injury, such as a dislocated jaw, or in association with other joint-related conditions, such as arthritis.
Treatment for TMJ Pain in Jacksonville, FL
Here at Lane Avenue Family Dentistry, we believe in treating our patients as conservatively and effectively as possible. An exam, x-rays and evaluation of your symptoms can help us determine if you are suffering from a TMJ disorder. If we diagnose you with TMD, we will make a recommendation for treatment based on the severity of the condition and its cause.
For some patients, resting and finding ways to relieve stress can help prevent teeth-clenching, which tends to aggravate TMJ pain. Others may require additional intervention, such as orthodontic treatment to correct tooth misalignment and improper bite.
In addition to treatment, our staff can also help patients learn ways of preventing TMJ pain in the future. For example, patients should avoid chewing gum if they have TMJ pain derived from an overworked jaw muscle. We also recommend that patients purposefully relax the jaw whenever possible and avoid extreme or sudden jaw movements, such as shouting.
If you have jaw pain or facial tension, help is available. Contact our staff for more information about TMD and to schedule your in-office consultation. We look forward to serving you soon.