Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD) is a common and progressive condition. It can cause prolonged migraines and severe jaw pain, and it may even considerably reduce your overall quality of life. TMJ disorders require treatment and can’t be cured without professional help. You no longer have to bear the stiffness or pain of TMJ disorders. At Lowery Smiles, we offer comprehensive TMJ diagnosis and treatment options.
What Is Temporomandibular Joint Disorder?
A balanced bite requires the teeth, temporomandibular joint, and muscles to work together in coordination. When all these components are correctly aligned, your mouth functions efficiently. But if any one of the components of your bite forces the jaw into misalignment, you will experience problems with every movement of the jawbone. This can cause pain across the face and jaw joints and spread into the neck and shoulders. This condition is called a temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD).
What Causes TMD?
While the exact cause of TMD is often unknown, it is more likely to be present in patients who:
- Have injured the jawbone joint, or the muscles of the neck and head
- Grind or clench their teeth
- Experience movement of the disc or soft cushion between the ball and socket of the joint
- Suffer from arthritis
- Have stress-induced jaw tightening
What Are the Symptoms of TMD?
If you have been facing a combination of the following symptoms, you should seek TMD therapy promptly:
- Tenderness or soreness in your face, jaw joint, neck, shoulders, or around the ear when you eat or speak
- Difficulty in opening your mouth wide
- Jaw joints that lock in the open or closed position
- Clicking or popping sounds in the jaw joint
- Difficulty chewing or an improper bite
- Swelling on one side of your face
- Severe migraine and headaches
How Is TMD Treated?
TMD therapy can include non-dental treatments like stress management and dietary changes or an oral appliance such as a customized nightguard. The first step in your TMD therapy will involve a complete assessment to plan the appropriate combination of treatment solutions for you. If you grind or clench your teeth at night, we might fit you with a custom-made night guard. To do this, we create plastic mouthpieces that rest firmly over the upper and lower teeth. These appliances must usually be worn at night.
Alternatively, if minor misalignments in your jawbone joint are causing the problem, a custom-fabricated splint can adjust your jaw into the correct position and reduce the strain.
Another treatment offered is a simple bite adjustment. During this procedure, our dentist will make minor changes to your bite so that your jaws don’t hit each other when you bite down or chew food. This minimizes stress on your TMJ, which in turn reduces pain and discomfort. We may also prescribe medication to reduce swelling and inflammation in your jaw, thereby reducing pain. If your TMJ is severely damaged, surgery may be required to correct it by replacing parts of the TMJ that are damaged with artificial replacements.
Lowery Smiles, located in Cary, NC, has expert dentists and the latest amenities for treatment. Call Dentist in Cary, NC at (919) 468-5501 and schedule an appointment.