Temporomandibular joint disorder, or TMD, is an umbrella term for a range of issues that cause problems in and around the jaw, jaw joint and facial muscles that control jaw movement. As you can imagine, any problems with moving the jaw can be painful, uncomfortable and affect the daily life of anyone who suffers from it. That’s why we offer a full range of treatments to help.
What is TMJ?
TMJ is actually the description of the temporomandibular joint, not the problems associated with it. The medical term is actually TMD, short for temporomandibular joint disorder. Most patients recognize TMJ, which is why we use the term here.
The TMJ is the joint that connects the lower jaw to the skull. This joint includes muscle that allows the jaw to move and controls chewing and talking. These are essential for a healthy, happy life which is why it concerns us.
What Causes TMJ?
The causes are many and not all dental related. It can be caused by stress, illness, injury or lifestyle factors. As holistic dentists, we are naturally concerned with the correct diagnosis and treatment of this disorder.
TMJ can be caused by many things, including:
- Grinding the teeth
- Dislocation of the jaw
- Osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis
What Are the Symptoms?
The symptoms of TMJ are many, but include headaches, migraines, pain, limited movement, lockjaw, muscle fatigue, swelling by the joint, tenderness in the area, neck and shoulder pain, earache, ringing in the ears, blurred vision, snoring, numbness in the finger tips, limited movement and discomfort when eating or talking. Essentially, the symptoms of TMJ are related directly to the area in which the disorder resides as well as any area of the body innervated by the trigeminal nerve.
Other symptoms can include toothache, dizziness, issues with the sinuses and gum disease, but these are less common. If you display any of these symptoms, make an appointment with your dentist.
As you can see, the symptoms of TMJ are similar to many other conditions, so needs careful diagnosis to correctly identify. It is important that you see a TMJ specialist to ensure the correct treatment and diagnosis, otherwise any treatments prescribed could be less than effective.
How We Treat TMJ
As the causes of TMJ disorder are many, our approach to treating it depends entirely on the situation at hand. Some patients need a dental splint to realign their jaw, others need chiropractic help to assist. It is a very subjective treatment regimen that is designed specifically for you.
Possible treatments include:
- Neuromuscular dental splints
- Physical therapy
- Dental procedures
Each sufferer of TMJ disorder is assessed individually and we devise a strategy that goes to the heart of the matter. Our goal is to work with the body to correct any and all issues that causes TMJ pain, which is why we consult with a number of other specialists to provide a complete, holistic approach.
If you think you’re suffering from TMJ disorder, contact us today to make an appointment. We’re here to help!