What is TMJ and TMD?
TMJ is the actual joint (temporomandibular joint).
TMD is a disfunction, or disorder of the joint (temporomandibuar disorder)
Your TMJ is where your lower jaw bone connects to the skull. The TMJ is responsible for helping you chew, speak, swallow, and yawn.
Many people have TMD and suffer from a number of symptoms. TMD can cause chronic pain in the head and neck muscles, as well as headaches and migraines. It has been noted that over 80% of headaches are caused by TMD.
What causes TMD?
TMD is usually caused by malocclusion, misaligned teeth and jaw structure. It is a degenerative disease and can cause a long list of other problems if not corrected. One of the biggest indicators is clenching and grinding. When your bite is misaligned, your lower jaw is constantly trying to find a comfortable position to rest- so it continues to move, clench, and grind your teeth together.
TMD causes wear and trauma to the teeth, as well as to the TMJ itself. TMD also causes overactive head and neck muscles, which become sore and tender from overuse. Medications and stress can also cause patients to clench and grind, or brux.
Symptoms of TMD:
Some patients present with no pain or sensitivity, while others have a combination of uncomfortable symptoms. The most common symptoms of TMD are:
- Pain in the jaw area
- Ringing in the ears
- Muscle spasms, tenderness, or pain
- Frequent headache or neckaches
- Clicking or popping of the TMJ
- Limited opening of the mouth or lockjaw
- Others hearing you grind your teeth while sleeping
What are the treatments for TMD?
Depending on the cause and severity of TMD, treatment can be multifactorial. During exams, Dr. Wollschlager will assess your TMJ through radiographs and evaluate for any signs of TMD. Based on his diagnosis, patients will be given a comprehensive treatment plan to correct the issue and prevent future dental problems. Some treatment options include:
- Bite guards
- Orthodontic devices
- Orthotic devices
- Trigger point injections
Many of our patients have said that TMD treatment has transformed their life and they no longer suffer from headaches or jaw pain. If this sounds like something you would like to learn more about, please contact our office for a consultation.