TMD (Temperomandibular Disorder) is a condition which effects the jaw and facial muscles surrounding the mouth. There are estimated to be more than 10 million people who suffer from this disorder, and innumerable others who have yet to be diagnosed. The tempomandibular joint (TMJ) is typically the culprit in cases of TMD. The TMJ is the joint which connects your jaw to to your skull. When the TMJ suffers a trauma or injury of some sort, it may be unable to move as it should and can cause complications while chewing or speaking. This can not only be a frustrating problem, but it can often be a painful and uncomfortable one as well.
What are the symptoms of TMD?
The actual cause of TMD is unknown. Some professionals believe that stress, grinding teeth and dental issues (like missing or crooked teeth) are underlying issues which can cause TMD. It is also believed that this condition could also be the result of arthritis in the jaw or a dislocation in the ball-socket area of the jawbone. Some of the symptoms of TMD include: pain and tenderness in the jaw and facial areas (which can also extend to the shoulders and ears), a clicking noise in the jaw when chewing, the inability to open your mouth widely, swelling of the face and the jaw bone locking when you either open or close your mouth.
How is TMD diagnosed?
Your dentist will ask you a series of questions to determine if you have the typical symptoms of TMD before performing a thorough oral examination. During this examination your dentist will check for jaw mobility, determine if there is any inflammation or tenderness and examine your bite and the state of your teeth (looking for any problems with your bite or the condition of your teeth which could be causing the TMD). In some cases your dentist may also take an x-ray of your mouth in order to view the jawbone and the TMJ.
How can a dentist help me if I have TMD?
There are several treatments for TMD that can help to remedy the problem. If your dentist finds that your TMD is mainly caused by grinding your teeth, then they may recommend a night guard or a treatment plan that will fix your dental issues. In certain cases braces, implants, bridges and crowns can help to fix any bite problems that are exacerbating your TMD. If your temperomandibular disorder is being caused by stress, then your dentist may recommend muscle relaxers or relaxation techniques, so that you no longer clench your jaw, which can lead to TMD. The dentist will also probably suggest that you avoid chewing gum and foods/drinks that are high in sugars or especially difficult to chew.
Call (310) 549-2400 or email us today to schedule your consultation with Dr. Vaishali Patel DDS, if you believe that you might suffer from TMD. Dr. Patel has dealt with a variety of TMJ/TMD cases and can help you to alleviate the pain you are experiencing as a result of TMD.