TMJ and TMD Treatment
What is TMD?
The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) connects the lower jaw (mandible) to the temporal bone of the skull. This joint is between the temporalis and the masseter, and operates as part of a complex system of bones, discs, muscles, and ligaments that work together to allow your mouth to move up and down and side to side when you chew and speak. Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMD) describes a number of conditions that can prevent the TMJ from functioning properly.
Symptoms of TMD
- Jaw that gets stuck or locked in open/closed mouth position
- Clicking popping or grating sounds of the jaw joints
- Swelling near the joint area
- Difficulty chewing or uncomfortable bite
Potential causes of TMD
- Arthritis in the jaw joint
- Injury to the jaw, head or neck
- Dislocation of the disc that cushions the TMJ
- Teeth grinding or clenching
- Stress that can cause tightening of the jaw muscles and teeth clenching
- Improper bite (malocclusion)
How is TMD diagnosed?
Since other conditions can cause symptoms that mimic TMD, an accurate diagnosis is important.
When TMD is suspected, your dentist will review your medical history and conduct a thorough clinical examination that includes checking the joints and muscles for tenderness, clicking, popping, or difficulty moving. The dentist will also take panoramic xrays and a CBCT scan to view the joints. In some cases, an MRI or CT scan may be recommended.
Treatment for TMD
Treatment for TMD can include:
- conservative therapies like stress management
- use of cold packs or moist heat…. chewy food
- per your doctor’s recommendation, OTC medication like NSAIDS
- Appliance Therapy
- referral to a TMJ/TMD specialist