What is TMJ/TMD?
TMD is Temporomandibular Joint Disorder, a problem with the jaw, jaw joint, and surrounding muscles responsible for moving the jaw. The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is located on either side of the head, just in front of the ear. It is a flexible joint that allows for movement of the jaw up and down and from side to side. TMJ is necessary for basic functions from chewing, to yawning.
When the jaw is misaligned, basic functions are impacted, and severe pain is not an uncommon accompaniment.
What are the symptoms of TMD?
TMD is most common in people ages 20 to 40, and is more common in women. Sufferers may experience temporary of long-lasting pain with symptoms including:
- Lock jaw, in both the open and closed position
- Limited mouth movement
- Difficulty chewing
- Headaches and migraines
- Shoulder, back, or neck pain
- Swelling in the face, particularly around the TMJ
- Ear aches
- Nasal infections
How is TMD diagnosed?
Dr. Bass and his team are specialists in neuromuscular dentistry, and are able to discern between TMD and problems like sinus infections, or gum disease that can have similar symptoms. Your TMJ will be thoroughly examined for tenderness, clicking, locking, and limited movement. X-rays may be required, and in some cases a MRI, or CT scan are required to more accurately assess the problem.
What causes TMD?
Injuries from a heavy blow or whiplash to the muscles in the neck, TMJ, or jaw can all cause TMD. Other causes include:
- Clenching the jaw or grinding the teeth. These can be stress related or simply formed by habit, but they put an undue amount of pressure on the TMJ
- Arthritis in the TMJ
- Dislocation of the disc between the ball and socket in the TMJ
What is the treatment for TMD?
There are several possible treatments for TMD. Because our goal is to permanently fix the problem, we will customize your treatment to best suit your needs. In some case, simple cosmetic dentistry procedures can be utilized. In other cases a Pure Power Mouth Guard may be utilized. In more severe cases, permanent orthodontic procedures may be called for.
If you are experiencing problems with your jaw and you live in or around Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, please contact Terry Bass, DDS, online or call 405-622-8996 to schedule a consultation and thorough examination.