If you have jaws are hurting, you may need to look into TMJ/TMD. Although these two acronyms are frequently used interchangeably, they are very different. TMJ is an abbreviation for temporomandibular joint, while TMD, which stands for Temporomandibular joint disorder, is a condition that affects the jaw joint. TMJ relates to the joint alone, whereas TMD refers to problems marked by swelling or displacement of the TMJs.
What is Temporomandibular joint disorder?
Temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMD) refers to a condition that encompasses a wide range of problems affecting the TM joints, facial nerves, and jaw muscles that control jaw movement. TMD is caused by a damaged or misplaced TMJ (temporomandibular joint). When your jaw is misaligned due to trauma or crooked teeth, the TMJ’s daily functions can become unpleasant, resulting in various ailments that can harm your entire body.
TMD affects up to 15% of the population of the United States, causing chronic facial discomforts like jaw pain, headaches, and earaches. It is the most frequent non-dental cause of chronic facial pain. TMD can be caused by problems with the temporomandibular joints, bones, muscles, or discs, producing pain and other unpleasant symptoms. Over time, such symptoms may also intensify and improve.
What is the temporomandibular joint?
The TMJ, or temporomandibular joint, is a small and delicate joint positioned directly beside each of your ears. It joins the jaw to the skull and enables us to chew, speak, and open our mouths. The joint is vulnerable to injury, inflamed, or irritation since it is small and sensitive. It will stop working properly if this happens. You may have pain and discomfort during chewing or speaking.
The jaw connects the TMJs; therefore, their appropriate function is dependent on each other and the teeth. Because your TMJs rely on various factors to function properly, it’s no surprise that TMJ disorders (TMD) are so frequent. Because it moves, translates out of its socket, and moves from side to side, the TMJ is perhaps one of the most complicated joints in the body.
What are the causes of Temporomandibular disorders?
In several cases, the exact source of this illness is unknown. The excess strain upon the jaw joints and the muscle group that regulates eating, swallowing, and speech is sometimes the main cause. This tension could be caused by bruxism. The uncontrollable clenching or crushing of teeth is known as bruxism. Temporomandibular disorders can be caused by trauma to the jaw, head, or neck.
TMD pain can also be caused by arthritis and disk displacement in the jaw joint. Other painful medical conditions, such as fibromyalgia, may overlap with TMD pain. Clinical, psychological, sensory, genetic, and neurological system components have been identified in a recent study by Craniofacial Research and the National Institute of Dental that may put a person at a higher risk of developing chronic TMD.
Symptoms of the Temporomandibular disorders
The symptoms of the temporomandibular disorder include:
- Whenever you chew, talk, or exhale through your mouth wide, you may experience pain or tenderness around the face, neck, jaw joint, and shoulders.
- If you try and open your mouth wide, you run into problems.
- Jaws will become “stuck” or “locked” in an open or closed mouth
- As your mouth opens and closes as you eat, you may hear a clicking, cracking, or grinding sounds in the jaw joint. It could be painful or not.
Treatment of Temporomandibular disorders
The TMD Treatment may include custom-fitted bite appliances, such as a Temporomandibular joint mouth guard, and recommended stress management strategies. The TMD Specialist will discuss some basic lifestyle modifications that may assist, such as taking fewer plates of food, biting only on one side then perhaps the other, eliminating gum and especially hard or chewable foods, and eating well to aid joint healing. It’s also essential to pay attention to your posture and sleeping position.
Need Help With TMD? First Dental Is Here To Help You!
You may have a TMJ condition and require the assistance of a TMD specialist to alleviate the discomfort and correct the jaw dysfunction. As an experienced dentist, Dr. Ghobbeh can help you diagnose the cause of your TMD, and get the care you need in the smile makeover. Contact us now at (617) 623-8489, or stop by our office in Somerville, Medford, and Avon, MA.