What is TMD & How Do Dental Specialists Treat TMD?

What is TMD & How Do Dental Specialists Treat TMD?

Feb 01, 2022

What is TMD?

TMD is a group of conditions characterized by inflammation or dysfunction of the temporomandibular joints. The TMJ is made up of two joints located in the head, where the lower jaw bone meets the skull. One or both of these joints can become stiff, making it difficult to open and close the mouth. It can also cause pain in your jaw muscles and headaches.

What Causes Temporomandibular Joint Disorders?

The exact cause of TMJD is unknown, but some causes that have been suggested include:

  • Previous trauma to the joints or nearby muscles
  • Congenital malformations
  • Poorly fitting dentures
  • Environmental factors
  • Stress from clenching or grinding teeth
  • Illnesses such as arthritis
  • Dislocation or misalignment of the TMJ
  • Injury to the brain from a head injury or accident

What are the Symptoms of TMJ Disorder?

There are several symptoms of TMD disorder, and they include;

  • Pain or tenderness around the jaw joint area,
  • Jaws that do not want to close or open
  • You may hear a clicking, popping, or grating sounds when you open your mouth or chew
  • Trouble chewing or a sudden uncomfortable bite
  • Swelling on the jaw

Because there are so many different symptoms and causes, it can be hard to diagnose someone with TMD. But one way to determine if you have it is by looking at their pain patterns. A person with chronic pain who also experiences limited mouth opening may be suffering from TMD. It is also advisable to visit a dentist near you for an accurate diagnosis.

What Does TMD Cause?

TMD can affect or disrupt your life in different ways:

  • Deprives of sleep

The TMJ pain can at times be severe affecting a good night’s rest as it makes it hard to sleep. Numerous studies have found that lack of sleep can negatively impact your health and life – in particular, it greatly affects your ability to stay productive at work or school. Sleep deprivation can also affect your memory & focus. It’s important to get the hours of sleep you need every night for you to maintain good health, quality of life, and success.

  • It is hard to eat

TMD can make eating and chewing difficult. This is because of the repetitive jaw movement, which can worsen TMJ symptoms. It affects what and how much you eat and can lead to unintentional weight loss, nutritional deficiencies, and a slew of health problems.

You can prevent these complications by seeking TMD treatment near you.

What are the Treatments of TMD?

There are different treatments for TMD, and they vary depending on what caused it and how extensive it is. A doctor will need to diagnose what your condition is before they can prescribe you a treatment. Some of the TMD treatments in Stone Oak, TX may include:

  • Painkillers like NSAIDs can help with muscle pain and swelling.
  • Use moist heat or cold packs on the side of the face for a few minutes to relieve pain and tension on the jaw.
  • Stretch the jaw for five minutes every day to facilitate movement
  • Eat soft foods like yogurt, mashed potatoes, cottage, cheese, scrambled eggs, fish, fruits, and vegetables. Also, choose foods that are less chewy and avoid crunchy and hard ones.
  • Avoid excessive yawning or chewing that can look like you are about to puke. Don’t sing or do anything else that forces your jaw wide open.
  • Keep your neck straight. Do not hold the phone between your ear & shoulder. Stand up straight to help reduce neck, back, and facial pain.
  • Practice relaxation techniques to ease stress. A tight jaw can be a sign of stress, but it may also be caused by pressure.
  • Low doses of anti-anxiety medications may help reduce or control pain.
  • Splints and mouthguards are a common treatment for people who experience recurrent headaches and jaw pain from bruxism. They help to lessen the effects and pressure of clenching and grinding teeth.
  • Get your teeth fixed with dental restorations. Misaligned teeth and overcrowding can cause pressure on the jaw causing TMJ pain.

Our dentist in Stone Oak can recommend surgery but only in severe cases and if the other treatments have failed to relieve jaw discomfort.

Schedule an Appointment

Visit Hardy Oak Family Dentistry for more information about TMD and how you can relieve the pain.