Do you often have high amounts of pain that is centralized around the jaw or mouth area? Do daily actions such as chewing or talking irritate your jaw? If these sound like you, you may be suffering from TMD. Temporomandibular Disorder (TMD), is a type of jaw disorder that can lead to pain and discomfort in that localized area of the mouth or face. It is important to understand that TMD is not a singular disorder, but it refers to a combination of various painful conditions of the jaw. If you are suffering from pain associated with TMD, you should consider visiting a dentist as soon as possible to discuss a plan of action for TMD treatment. Because understanding TMD can be confusing, we have compiled some key information you should know about the disorder below.
What are the Categories of TMD?
As stated previously, TMD is not a singular disease that has a direct cause or effect. Rather, it is a composition of multiple conditions that when grouped together is classified as a Temporomandibular Disorder. Formally, there are three categories of TMD that are most common.
First is known as myofascial pain. This is the most common of the three and occurs when muscles which control the jaw, neck, and shoulders incur pain.
A second category is internal derangement of the joint. Just as this one sounds, this category forms when you have a displaced or dislocated jaw or disc.
The third type is called degenerative joint disease. This is the least common form of TMD and occurs when the jaw joint has signs of either osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis. It is important to understand that it is possible to have multiple of these classifications at once, so it is important to identify which ones are causing the pain. To do so, your dentist can focus on behavioral and physical factors that can cause this.
Symptoms of TMD
To determine whether or not you may be suffering from TMD, be sure to cross check your symptoms with the traditional symptom list. For example, if you experience lock jaw or limited motion and movement of the jaw, this could be a sign to have TMD treatment. Additionally, constant facial, neck, and shoulder pain, as well as clicking or popping of the jaw and mouth are symptoms.
Another serious issue that could signify TMD is a significant change in the way your bite is, in that your upper and lower teeth will not line up or fit together the same way they used to. Smaller, less serious symptoms include dizziness, issues in hearing, headaches, and earaches. Before you worry about slight jaw pain, this is normal in all humans – it is only deemed a significant issue with cause to believe you may have TMD if you show signs of the previous symptoms.
How to do TMD Treatment
TMD can be treated after diagnosed. For diagnosis, x-rays, physical examinations, and other various diagnostic tests like MRI may be used. After your dentist examines these and sees you have TMD, they can proceed developing a treatment plan for you.
Depending on the severity, you and your dentist can determine if you want to take a reversible or an irreversible TMD treatment plan. Reversible treatments don’t permanently change the mouth or bone structure of the jaw. Examples of treatments can be splints, physical therapy, muscle relaxers, and applying heat and cooling pads to the area. Irreversible treatments often involve permanent alterations.
These could be surgery, orthodontics to alter the bite, and occlusal adjustments. An occlusal adjustment involves grinding the teeth down to ensure a better bite and balance in the mouth. Whatever option you and your dentists choose, you’ll likely be more comfortable throughout your daily life after TMD treatment.
Determine if You Have TMD
If you’re worried you may have TMD due to symptoms you have, visit your dentist today. For a cost-effective option, the Orthodontist Associates of WNY offer free dental consultations. With this, schedule an appointment and we can begin assessing your pain and conditions! Contact us today to enjoy a life of no pain and get the best TMD treatment possible.
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