Family Dentistry

Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction (TMD) is a common condition affecting a wide variety of people. TMD is characterized by severe headaches, jaw pain of varying degrees, grinding teeth, and an intermittent ringing in the ears. The vast majority of TMD sufferers are unaware that the root cause of these problems is something that a dentist may effectively treat.

The symptoms of TMD are debilitating and can greatly interfere with every day life. The comfort and general well being of the patient is at the heart of the dental practice, so pain relief is the first consideration of the dentist. The dentist is able to test, diagnose, and devise an immediate plan to treat the underlying causes of the TMD disorder.

Reasons for treating TMD

TMD sufferers report that their symptoms generally worsen during periods of prolonged or unexpected stress, and that intense outbreaks of the condition can lead to neck pain and dizziness.

A common cause of TMD is the misalignment or malocclusion of the teeth.  It may be possible for the dentist to  adjust the occlusion (bite) to help reduce or possibly eliminate the symptoms.   

Patients who clench or grind their teeth usually do so at night.  This clenching/grinding places pressure on the Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) causing joint problems as well as muscle tenderness.  Clenching/grinding may lead to premature wear of the teeth.

It is important for anyone experiencing the symptoms of TMD to visit the dentist for an exact diagnosis.

What does treating TMD involve?

TMD may be due to  an injury resulting from trauma to the jaw. Initially, the dentist will thoroughly examine the jaw area, the patient’s bite, take X-rays, and review the patient’s history in order to make an accurate diagnosis and recommend necessary treatment.

Once a firm diagnosis is attained, there are several ways in which relief can be provided. A specially molded bite guard can be created to stop clenching or teeth grinding during the night. A bite relationship analysis may be recommended by the dentist. The dentist can also provide advice on relaxation techniques which will lessen the effects of stress. As a last alternative, the dentist is also able to prescribe muscle relaxants.

If you are experiencing any symptoms of TMD, we encourage you to contact our office today to schedule an appointment.