Do your jaw joints pop or click? What about headaches, neck pain, dizziness or ringing in your ears? Do you ever get “lock-jaw” or have a difficult time opening all the way to eat? You may be experiencing symptoms related to the TMJ.
Are you living with jaw pain? You don’t have to.
Many people living with jaw pain chalk it up to “one of those things” — just something to deal with. But jaw pain is often an indication of a more serious — and frequently overlooked — condition known as TMD, temporomandibular joint disorder.
What Is Temporomandibular Joint Disorder?
TMD develops when the temporomandibular joints, also known as the TMJs, become damaged. The TMJs are the ball and socket joints that connect the lower jaw to the skull. They are located just in front of the ears. Each joint contains a small cartilage circle that helps cushion the jaw as it moves and prevents the jaw bone from rubbing against the skull.
These joints play a critical role in your ability to move your jaw up and down, side to side, and back and forth.
They also play a critical role in essential functions such as breathing, speaking, making facial expressions, yawning and eating.
Temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMD) develops when the cartilage discs in the temporomandibular joints wear out, are injured or get out of alignment.
What Causes TMD?
The most common cause of TMD is a bite that is out of balance. When the bite is “off” (also known as bite malocclusion), the jaw muscles, ligaments and nerves become strained as they are forced out of this correct position to maintain the jaw’s new incorrect position.
When TMD goes untreated, it can lead to chronic pain, arthritis in the jaw joint and the potential for the partial or total loss of jaw use for some individuals.
Other causes of TMD include mid-face deficiency, caused when the jaws do not grow properly, and injuries, such as a blow to the face or accident.
Although the exact number of people living with TMD is unknown, the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates about 10 million Americans suffer from the condition. The NIDCR also believes that many more individuals have TMD but are undiagnosed.
Restore Modern Dentistry Can Help Treat TMD
Our dentists at Restore Modern Dentistry specialize in treating TMD and use advanced technology techniques such as neuromuscular dentistry to help find the source of your jaw pain and uncomfortable symptoms and restore your quality of life.
TMD | The Great Imposter
In many cases, TMD can be difficult to diagnose. This difficulty occurs because its symptoms often mimic the symptoms of other conditions, including ear infections, sinus pain, facial pain, migraines and headaches, damaged teeth and poor gum health, back and neck problems, and movement disorders like vertigo.
Because of this, TMD is often referred to as “The Great Imposter.”
This means many people affected by TMD go years without proper treatment and live in pain and discomfort as its symptoms worsen. Many TMD patients report frequent and unsuccessful trips to chiropractors; ear, nose and throat doctors; and other specialists to find a cure for their pain, only to find no real relief.
At Restore Modern Dentistry, we recognize the signs and symptoms of TMD and can help. We can treat the root cause of your pain and get you back to living pain-free!
What Are the Symptoms of TMD?
The most common symptoms of TMD include:
- Clicking, snapping and popping of the jaw
- Difficulty fully opening or closing the mouth
- Locking of the jaw when opened or closed or feeling as if the jaw is going to lock
- Pain and soreness in the jaw, under the jaw, or in the neck and cheeks
- Frequent headaches and migraines, particularly in the morning
- Pain in the upper back, neck or shoulders
- Teeth grinding or clenching, often during sleep
- Sore teeth when eating
- Difficulty eating
- A bite that feels “off” or out of balance
- Unexplained ear pain, ringing in the ears and/or feeling as if the ear is “full”
- Facial pain
- Feeling off-balance or dizzy or experiencing vertigo in a specific position
- Sleep apnea and other sleep breathing disorders
While many TMD treatments aim to alleviate uncomfortable symptoms, real relief comes from treating the condition’s cause. When balance to the bite is restored, painful symptoms subside and proper function returns.
Restore Modern Dentistry can help you live a pain-free life by identifying the cause of your TMD and creating a customized treatment plan for you.
We offer several treatment options for your TMD. Learn more by scheduling a consultation today. We will conduct a thorough exam during this visit and talk to you about your experience and health history.
Our treatment options for temporomandibular disorders include:
Symptomatic Splint Therapy
A TMJ splint is used to correct the discrepancy in your bite. The splint places your bite in a specific position to enhance the position of your TMJs for healing.
Treatment of the Mid-Face
The imbalance itself is usually created by a deficiency of jaw development and a poor bite. Treating this is typically a way to resolve your TMJ issues.
Treatment of the Bite
Treating the bite itself is often all that’s needed. If the jaw relationship can be managed with the bite in mind, restorative solutions are often considered.
A Combination of Both
Many times, both the jaw and the bite must be addressed, resulting in a healthier face and bite. This improves the jaws, teeth, TMJs and muscles.
Want to learn more about how we treat TMD? Call us now to schedule a consultation.
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Contact us to find out more or how we can help you.
3301 S Walton Drive Ste 19
Bentonville, AR 72712
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Office hours: Monday – Thursday 7:30am – 4:30pm