You may have seen these acronyms used before, but what do they actually refer to? The TMJ is the temporomandibular joint, while TMD refers to temporomandibular disorder, or conditions affecting the temporomandibular joint. Here at Revive Dental and Implant Center, our team of dental professionals can help fight and treat this painful and debilitating disorder.
What Is the TMJ?
The TMJ is the joint that connects your upper jaw to your lower jaw. The TMJ is unique because it works like a hinge. It is this joint that allows you to do all the things you love most, from talking to laughing to eating. But because it is involved in so many of these important activities, the joint can experience excessive wear-and-tear compared to other joints in the body.
What Is TMD?
This excessive wear-and-tear can cause a variety of different problems all referred to as TMD. The TMJ is just one part of an intricate mechanism of bones, muscles, discs, and ligaments that all rely on one another to work properly. If even just one part breaks down then the TMJ area can become swollen, fractured, or sore, causing pain while eating or yawning, headaches, ear pain, poor hearing, jaw sensitivity, and more. A telltale sign of TMD is if you can clearly hear your jaw clicking when you open it and feel pain. While many people who can hear this click are completely fine, pain or a stuck jaw can indicate TMD.
What Are the Causes of TMD?
There is no one single cause of TMD. There are so many different interlocking parts of the TMJ area that without a thorough examination in our office we cannot say for sure what might be behind any one case of TMD. Some of the more common causes include bruxism (excessive grinding and clenching of the teeth), a sports injury (such as dislocation), crooked and out-of-place teeth, and arthritis. Bruxism is one of the most widely occuring causes as bruxism is a symptom of stress, both mental stress and physical, such as from hard labor.
How Can You Treat TMD?
TMD can be a serious condition, especially if left untreated. For this reason, we always recommend you come into our office for a consultation and comprehensive exam so we can determine what might be causing your symptoms and work closely with you to plan out a healthcare regimen that fits your unique healthcare needs. TMD has to be treated very carefully as there is no set of standard diagnostic criteria. We approach all treatments involving the TMJ with the utmost delicacy and care because of how important the joint is in our daily lives. Depending on your particular needs, we might start working on correcting bite problems or minimizing grinding with crowns, bridges, or braces. Surgery and drugs are also options for advanced cases.
Feel Jaw Relief Today!
Temporomandibular might be a mouthful, but there is no reason you have to have a mouthful of pain. Call Revive Dental and Implant Center at (304) 467-4265 and schedule a consultation today to start experiencing pain relief!