TMJ and TMD are fairly commonly mentioned terms in dentistry that you may have heard several times by now without having any idea what they mean for you. To explain these in short, TMJ is the common term dentists use to describe the temporomandibular joints, or the joints that connect your jawbone to your skull.
When those joints are not working properly or are in pain for some reason, it is referred to as TMD, or “temporomandibular joint dysfunction.”
Though it has a complicated name, TMD is often not a serious problem in most cases. However, it can cause a lot of discomfort and pain, and if left untreated, it may turn into a bigger problem.
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How Do I Know If I Have TMD?
The symptoms of TMD are so varied and often so common that it can be hard to self-diagnose. Symptoms of TMD range to include any of the following:
- Limited jaw motion, stiffness, or locking of the jaw.
- Audible jaw noises, such as clicking and popping, is considered one of the biggest indicators of TMD.
- Pain and tenderness in the chewing muscles, or pain while chewing not directly related to regular dental pain, is one of the most common symptoms.
- Unexplained shoulder or neck pain are sometimes found in patients with TMD.
- Migraines or other tension headaches are sometimes caused by problems with the teeth or jaw.
- Hearing loss, ringing or buzzing in the ears, or dizziness have also been reported as symptoms of TMD.
Because there are so many symptoms and many of them are also attributable to other more common disorders, it can be hard to diagnose TMD. If you are concerned, we recommend scheduling a consultation with Dr. Campbell.
Causes and Effects of TMD
With its many different symptoms, TMD can also be caused by many different things. Often the causes spring from several combining factors rather than a single cause. Some of the most common causes are:
- Bruxism, or excessive clenching and grinding of the teeth, while awake or asleep.
- Trauma from whiplash, a car accident, or a sports injury.
- Emotional stress, such as depression or anxiety, which can cause joint pain throughout the body, including the jaw.
- Degenerative joint disease, such as osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and arthrosis.
These are not the only causes of TMD, nor are they always indicators of having TMD. This is why it is always important to talk to your dentist if you have concerns. TMD can cause chronic pain in many, so at Sunrise Smile Design, we want to help you as much as we can!
Treatment Night Guards For TMD
Here at Sunrise Smile Design, we care about your smile not only looking good, but also feeling good and healthy. If you are suffering from TMD pain, we can help! We offer customized TMJ night guards that can help relieve pressure on your TMJ while you sleep, usually resulting in reduced TMD pain while you’re awake.
Our guards are worn like a retainer. Once in place, the guard adjusts your bite just slightly to prevent your back teeth and molars from grinding in your sleep. This reduces tension on your TMJ and protects your teeth from the harmful effects of teeth grinding.
Don't Let Your Smile Suffer Because of TMJ Pain
Dr. Campbell and our team at Sunrise Smile Design care about your WHOLE dental health. Call today for a TMJ consultation and ask about our night guards!