Orthodontics can provide permanent correction and relief.
Everyone has a temporomandibular joint (TMJ), as it is the joint that connects the skull to the jaw. However, some people experience pain and discomfort as a result of this joint due to a disorder called TMD. With TMD, sufferers often have problems with opening and closing their mouth, chewing, and frequently have jaw pain or stuff jaw muscles. If this sounds like something you might have, you should ask your orthodontist about possible remedies. They have several options of orthodontic treatment to give you relief.
Symptoms of TMD
There are some common symptoms that can lead to your diagnosis of TMJ disorder, called TMD. This includes popping sounds when opening and closing your mouth or a locking of your jaw when opening or closing your mouth, teeth grinding at night, stiff jaw muscles, pain in the jaw, neck or face, a clicking sound in your jaw, or a change in how your upper and lower teeth fit together. Headaches are also very common with TMD, due to the teeth grinding and pain in the jaw. Other symptoms include ringing in the ears, worn out enamel of the teeth, ear pain and limited mobility of the jaw.
Causes of TMD
There is no single cause of TMD and in most cases, doctors and orthodontists aren’t able to determine exactly what caused it. Some possible causes include improper myofunctional habits like mouth breathing, tongue thrusting or reverse swallowing, trauma to the TMJ, genetics and simple bad luck. In most cases, there isn’t a definable cause of TMD.
Instead of visiting your doctor for TMJ and TMD, you actually get your treatment from your orthodontist. They are more familiar with the anatomy of your face and jaw, therefore are able to provide orthodontic treatment for this type of disorder. In some cases, treatment only reduces the side effects and helps you find relief, while it reverses the disorder for others. Treatments for TMD include using oral appliances that help reduce teeth grinding, like night guards, stress management to prevent clenching the jaw, exercises for the mouth and jaw, and pain medications in some cases. There are also orthodontic surgery procedures for more severe cases of TMD, like TMD splints to relieve the pressure on the jaw joints.
If you feel that you may have a TMJ disorder, your first stop should be your dentist or orthodontist. They will go over your symptoms and take x-rays to get a closer look of your jaw and joints. Many of the orthodontic treatments provided for TMD have to do with the side effects, like mouth guards for teeth grinding, which not only removes enamel from your teeth, but also causes jaw, head and ear pain throughout the day.
Try a combination of treatments for TMD until you find the one that suits you best. You can trust your orthodontist to offer the best course of treatment since they are aware of your jaw and facial anatomy.
Dr. Olmsted is committed to providing quality dental care to patients in Oak Ridge, Stokesdale, Colfax, Summerfield, Greensboro, High Point, and Kernersville. If you would like a consultation, call us at 336-441-8301.