What Do TMD & TMJ Have To Do With The Dentist
- August 16, 2015
What Do TMD & TMJ Have To Do With The Dentist?
At Total Dental Care of South Carolina, we strive to provide the people of Columbia with comprehensive oral health treatment services.
This necessarily extends to the group of conditions collectively called TMD.
If you are like most of our patients, you’ll want to know right off the bat if TMD is the same thing as TMJ.
The answer is yes, and no!
TMD refers to Temporomandibular joint and muscle disorders that impact the joints that allow us to move our jaws up and down (and from side to side for that matter).
TMJ, contrary to popular belief, is not a condition (or group of conditions) but rather the actual joints on either side of the head affected by the TMD.
So, when someone comes into our office for TMJ issues, we actually treat them for TMD.
Makes sense, right?
What Causes TMD?
Obviously, any major blow to the face (such as a car crash or sports injury) can cause dislocation of the TMJ and result in TMD issues.
In many other less dramatic cases, the cause of TMD can be also clear, like when bite problems exist.
In ideal situations, your lower jaw will be positioned properly in the joint space. If this is not the case, your teeth will not come together quite right.
Is that a big deal? Well, yes.
When your teeth do not come together as they should, they will wear down and can loosen or fracture and can cause unbearable pain in the TMJ.
Arthritis, too, can play a role in TMD when it causes inflammation and swelling of the joints.
As you might suspect, habitual jaw clenching and teeth grinding are also contributing factors.
Still, sometimes the underlying cause is mysterious, and our patient may simply complain of persistent pain in the head, neck, ears, cheeks, and jaw.
In addition to pain, many of our TMD patients report having a very limited (or at any rate diminished) ability to open and close the mouth for talking, chewing, etc.
When they do chew, TMD patients also hear sounds akin to popping or clicking.
That Sounds Like Me. What Should I Do?
In our experience, we have found that TMD may be related to sleep apnea, sinus problems, allergies, and other medical conditions.
So, when you come in for your consultation, our Total Dental Care team will arrange for a thorough physical examination and review of your medical history to try to determine exactly what is causing the current TMD problem and how to go about treating it.
TMD is nothing to fool around with. We are serious about getting you some relief. As such, your evaluation process can include X-rays, CT scans, and MRI.
How Do You Treat TMD At Total Dental Care Of South Carolina?
Treatment approaches for TMD are varied and really depend on your own unique set of circumstances.
At Total Dental Care, our methods can be conservative (like stress management and lifestyle changes), surgical (when necessary) or a combination of therapies.
The good news for patients with TMD issues related to bruxism (habitual grinding of teeth) is that we may be able to get you fitted with a splint or mouth guard to help correct your bite and stop the night time grinding.
In any event, the best thing you can do for your TMD/TMJ issues is contact us now to schedule your consultation.