Do you find yourself struggling with chronic headaches? Perhaps you frequently experience discomfort or pain in your teeth, face, neck or head in general? It is likely that you suffer from TMJ or TMD.
Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) or temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD) refers to concerns that impact the joint in your jaw. The two terms are often used interchangeably, but there is a key difference between them. TMJ refers strictly to the joint. TMD refers to the disorders that can be characterized by concerns with the temporomandibular joint, including misalignment or inflammation.
If you have pain in your teeth or in your jaw call Wilson Dentistry to schedule an appointment. Our dentist will complete a full examination of your teeth, gums and jaw in order to come up with the right diagnosis. If you have TMD, we can offer you several solutions to meet your individual needs.
What Are Temporomandibular Joints?
TMJs can be thought of as sliding hinges that are located on each side of your head. They connect your jaw to your skull. The joints work together when you speak, chew, or swallow.
TMJs are unique in that they allow for a wide range of motion, which is necessary for speech and eating functions. They allow your jaw to open up, shift from side to side, and to move in a forward and backward direction.
Each temporomandibular joint is a ball and socket, with a disk between them. This disc is important as it cushions against the pressure that comes from opening the jaw, or making any type of movement with the jaw.
Any concern that interferes with the successful function of the TMJ could result in an uncomfortable TMJ disorder. These disorders are fairly common.
Characterizations of TMD
There are several signs that you may be struggling with a temporomandibular disorder. Your jaw may periodically get stuck, or feel locked up, when it’s either in the closed or open position. There could be accompanying discomfort in the joint, whether you’re using it or not. You could also experience trouble eating, as a result of your bite being misaligned.
One of the classic signs of TMD is a clicking or popping sound heard when you both open and close your mouth. This could also be accompanied by some discomfort.
Many do experience concerns with chronic headaches or migraines, which can be very disruptive. Perhaps one of the most concerning issues to be aware of is that TMD can result in damage to your teeth, due to the pressure applied to them when you’re asleep and grinding your teeth. This is known as bruxism.
What Can Cause TMD?
Many TMD cases are the result of stress. We all carry our stress in our own way. For some, the anxiety and increased stress can manifest in the TMJ. This can contribute to increased tension in the TMJ, which can then in turn lead to teeth grinding or jaw clenching. Bruxism can be potentially serious as it can result in damage to the teeth.
Some of the other factors that can be responsible for TMD may include misalignment in the bite, teeth being impacted, an injury, poor posture and even arthritis.
During your appointment with your dentist, you should discuss your concerns so that a diagnosis can be made. With a thorough examination, including x-rays, your dentist will be able to gain a bit more insight into what might be causing your symptoms.
If your TMD is not extensive and severe, there are some options to consider for treatment.
First and foremost, you should take steps to reduce your anxiety and stress levels. The use of compresses, both hot and cold interchangeably, can offer some relief from the discomfort. Avoiding chewing gum is important. The constant chewing and pressure from the gum chewing can potentially aggravate your TMJ.
A custom-fit oral appliance worn during sleep can help to minimize some of the effects that you are experiencing when you clench your jaw and grind your teeth in your sleep. This oral appliance could just mean the difference between a good night of rest, waking up free from discomfort, and the way you’re feeling today.
Call Wilson Dentistry at (346) 340-5440 to schedule a consultation. This appointment could just be the solution you are looking for. Our Katy dentist will conduct a comprehensive examination and offer you the right solutions to meet your dental and general wellness needs.