TMJ refers to the temporomandibular joint, which is the complex bone structure, muscles, and connective tissues that surround the jaw and control chewing. When patients experience disorders of this joint, they are said to have a temporomandibular joint disorder or TMD. Symptoms of TMD may include pain, tenderness near the jaw, and popping or clicking in the joint when speaking or chewing. There are many ways of treating TMJ disorders, ranging from non-invasive therapy and bite splints to injections or surgery. Left untreated, however, TMJ disorders can lead to headaches, muscle pain, tooth damage from grinding or clenching and even alterations in how your teeth come together.
Did you know…
TMD is the second most common pain-causing musculoskeletal condition in the U.S. According to the U.S. National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, as many as 12 percent of Americans may suffer from some type of TMD. Women are twice as likely to be affected than men. Despite its prevalence and treatment possibilities, the majority of people don’t seek treatment.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I know if TMJ treatment is right for me?
You will first need to be formally examined and diagnosed with a TMJ disorder. At Downtown Dental, we will evaluate the extent of the condition and determine what course of treatment is best for you. Usually, the initial approach involves conservative treatment, such as self-care, physical therapy and bite guards. Medications may also be used to relax the jaw or relieve pain. Patients who do not respond to conservative treatments may be referred to a specialist to consider further treatment options.
What should I expect if I undergo treatment for TMJ?
TMJ therapy varies from patient to patient, so your experience may be very different than someone else’s. It may be recommended you wear a specific oral appliance or night guard. You’ll likely be asked to adopt certain lifestyle changes to help facilitate rehabilitation in your jaw. For example, you may be asked to avoid overworking your jaw movements, such as yelling or excessive gum chewing. An evaluation of sleep patterns and stress levels may also be looked at.
Suffering TMD pain can be a very debilitating condition. Contact our office today to schedule an exam to address your TMJ concerns.