Temporomandibular joint and muscle disorders, otherwise known as TMJ/TMD, are estimated to affect over 10 million Americans. Conditions under this umbrella term cause pain and dysfunction in the jaw joint and surrounding muscles, which can lead to problems with chewing, opening your mouth, and more. Luckily, Dr. Bridges and his team of dental professionals at Chisholm Trail Smile Center are well-equipped to help diagnose and relieve pain caused by TMD.
What is TMD?
When you open and close your mouth, your temporomandibular joints are what make it possible. You use these muscles more than you may think, in everything from chewing to speaking to swallowing. Working in conjunction with the surrounding muscles, bone, and ligaments, these joints are essential in ensuring the proper functioning of your jaw.
If there is a problem that stops this complex system from carrying out its job, you may experience symptoms of TMD. Issues with your jaw and muscles can lead to severe discomfort, either temporarily or chronically. If you suffer from TMD, you may experience:
Problems opening your mouth wide.
Pain or soreness around the jaw joint area, face, and neck.
From tinnitus to headaches, the list of TMD symptoms is a long one. Do yourself a favor by seeking treatment to get past the discomfort.
What Causes TMD?
While there is no one, determinative cause for TMD, it’s suspected to be brought on by problems within the jaw, joint, and muscles. In some cases, the cause is clear, like in cases of injury. Other causes may include:
Excessive grinding or clenching of teeth
Problems with jaw and tooth alignment
Although the causes are numerous, many of those suffering from TMD experience similar symptoms. With a properly constructed, individualized treatment plan, you can achieve relief from the aches of TMD. Our team at Chisholm Trail Smile Center is at your service to help diagnose and treat your TMD, so you can have a healthier smile.
How We Treat TMD?
Treatment begins with diagnosis, which involves the dental practitioner checking the joints and muscles for anomalies. From there, the dentist will have a better idea of how best to help relieve your symptoms. Depending on your situation, at-home exercises, anti-inflammatory medications, or muscle relaxants may be helpful.
Your dentist may also recommend some useful changes in your daily habits, such as:
Practice relaxation techniques to ease jaw tension.
Stop biting your nails or chewing gum, to avoid unnecessary stress.
Avoid foods that are too hard or chewy.
Along with these simple fixes, your TMD symptoms may also be reduced by manufacturing a custom-made night guard, usually made of hard plastic. In order to do so, we first capture a mold of your mouth and then shape the material of the oral appliance to custom-fit your bite. These appliances can ease the stress caused by nightly teeth grinding, so you wake up refreshed in the morning.
Here at Chisholm Trail Smile Center, we recommend a combination of treatments as is fit for each individual case. In some instances, we may even refer patients to physicians or orthodontists, in case surgery or further work is needed to provide relief.
Do you have TMD problems?
If you’ve read this far and can tell you have the symptoms of TMD, don’t hesitate to reach out to our office today! The first step in treatment is diagnosis, and with Dr. Bridges and his team, you’re in great hands. Contact us online or call us today at (580) 255-4880 to schedule an appointment.