Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD) is when your temporomandibular joints are damaged or not functioning properly. What causes TMD? It varies on a case-by-case basis. It is thought to have a variety of different causes, such as arthritis, injury, clenching and teeth grinding, or stress and anxiety. At your consultation, we’ll discuss your overall health history, perform X-rays, and do a visual examination to try to determine the cause of your TMD.
Treatment for TMD
At Farmington Dental & Orthodontics, we can create custom-fitted oral appliances, known as splints, to help reduce the symptoms of TMD. Oral appliance therapy will keep the upper and lower arch of teeth apart so that they don’t touch, which eases the pressure on the temporomandibular joint. We usually recommend wearing your oral appliance for the majority of the day, when you’re not eating, for the best results. We may also advise wearing a nightguard to bed to prevent damage from teeth grinding.
What are common symptoms of TMD?
Wondering if you’re suffering from TMD? Here are some of the most common signs of TMD. If you’re experiencing any of the following, please call our office right away to book your consultation!
- Aching in or Around Your Ears
- Chronic or Frequent Headaches & Migraines
- Difficulty Chewing
- Facial Pain
- Lockjaw or Clicking Jaw
- Pain or Tenderness Around Jaw
- Teeth Grinding
Is TMD curable?
Each case and person is different. For some, TMD can be reversed using noninvasive, simple methods. For others, their TMD isn’t curable, but can often be easily maintained and controlled with certain treatments.
Can a dentist fix my loud snoring?
We can help minimize your snoring caused by TMD through oral appliance therapy. A custom-designed oral appliance will help keep your airway open to prevent chronic, loud snoring while you sleep!
What happens if TMJ isn’t treated?
The jaw muscles are some of the strongest muscles in the human body, and our teeth can clench together with a force equivalent to 55 pounds. This excessive effort is not only detrimental to the teeth, but it can greatly affect the temporomandibular joint and can even cause the jaw to dislocate. Fortunately, preventing tooth and jaw damage is far less painful and costly than restoring cracked teeth and TMJ trauma.
What if my TMJ symptoms are inconsistent?
Some patients only experience TMJ symptoms during times of heightened stress or anxiety and don’t clench their teeth every single night. In this case, we still recommend having a custom oral appliance created to use whenever you feel like you need to wear it. If you aren’t sure whether you need to wear your mouthguard during the night or not, it’s always better to be safe than sorry!
What else can I do for my TMJ?
If you find that your jaw feels sore on occasion because you forgot to wear your mouthguard or you were subconsciously clenching your jaw during the day, there are physical therapy exercises you can practice to stretch your facial muscles and reduce some of the stress. These exercises are available online, or our team would be happy to teach them to you during your next visit.