What Symptoms Are Associated With TMJ and TMD?
Temporomandibular joint disorder, more commonly referred to as TMJ or TMD, is a disorder that is characterized by a continuous cycle of pain, spasms, and jaw joint problems. According to Dr. Rochelle Riley of Arizona Dental Medicine, PLLC, in Tucson, a TMD dentist who specializes in this disorder is usually needed to provide an accurate diagnosis and treatment.
Before a person can be diagnosed and treated for TMD, however, he must come to a TMD dentist in Tucson for help. Most people won’t know that they have TMD right away, but they will notice a few common triggers or symptoms. These common symptoms include headaches, pain in the muscles around the face, neck, and shoulders, and worn dentition. Hearing a clicking or popping sound in the jaw joints is another common complaint among TMD sufferers, as is pain behind the eyes, earaches, ringing in the ears, tingling hands, and difficulty opening or closing the mouth.
So what causes TMD, and how is it treated? Dr. Riley says the answers to these questions are complex and they can vary significantly from patient to patient. The most common causes of TMD are teeth grinding, injuries to the jaw, and emotional stress. Adults with a bad bite or dental alignment issues also have a higher-than-average likelihood of suffering from TMD at some point in their lives.
The bite issue, in particular, is something that people can fix to avoid TMD in the first place. Dr. Riley explains that teeth that are out of alignment or worn away cannot come together evenly. This forces the jaw to move positions, and it makes the muscles work harder than they should each time a person bites down. Given how many times a day the average person bites, this seemingly minor problem can blow up very quickly and lead to the muscle tension and spasms that so many TMD sufferers complain of.
To eliminate the symptoms of TMD, a dentist in Tucson is likely to recommend a custom crafted bite splint called an orthotic. Orthotic devices help to relax the muscles, stabilize the bite, and restore balance to the jaw joint. In most cases, a TMD dentist is Tucson is likely to recommend that a patient wear the prescribed orthotic device for several months – at least until the muscles in the jaw have become fully relaxed. Only once the bite has been stabilized can it be permanently corrected by replacing missing teeth, using an orthodontic intervention, or placing crowns or veneers.
Tucson, AZ 08704
*Disclaimer: The information on this website is not intended to substitute for the medical expertise and advice of your healthcare provider. We encourage you to discuss any decisions about treatment or care with an appropriate healthcare provider.