What Is TMJ/TMD?
Temporomandibular joint disorder, as known as TMJ or TMD, is a condition that influences the muscles in and surrounding your jaw. The temporomandibular joint, which connects your jaw to your skull, is extremely delicate and therefore susceptible to damage. The symptoms of TMJ/TMD can include jaw pain or tenderness, facial or neck pain, and difficulty performing normal functions like chewing, speaking, or yawning. You may also hear a popping or clicking sound when you attempt to move your jaw, and some patients with TMJ/TMD may even have trouble opening their mouths all the way if the disorder is left unchecked.
Causes of TMJ/TMD
There is no specific cause for TMJ/TMD, but there are several identifiable risk factors. Your temporomandibular joint could be affected by health conditions like osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. These disorders cause inflammation and degeneration, leading to joint weakness and pain. If you suffer from bruxism, a condition that causes patients to grind their teeth while they sleep, the excessive amount of pressure on your temporomandibular joint could be to blame. It is also possible to experience TMJ/TMD if you spend a lot of time clenching your jaw due to stress or anxiety. Your dentist can help you ascertain your risk factors for TMJ/TMD if you are concerned about developing the condition.
TMJ/TMD Treatment Options
There are several treatment options you can take advantage of at our office. The first course of treatment may be to alleviate your painful symptoms with anti-inflammatory medications, muscle relaxants, or low doses of tricyclic antidepressants that can reduce the intensity of your discomfort. If you would like to avoid prescription drugs, you may utilize an occlusal appliance like a mouth guard or a set of splints that will lessen pressure on your jaw muscles, or perform physical therapy exercises to strengthen them. If none of these options are sufficient, your dentist may recommend a surgical procedure. TMJ/TMD surgeries can include arthrocentesis, corticosteroid (Botox) injections, and modified condylotomy. Before you undergo any of these treatments, your dentist will walk you through the ramifications of each procedure so that you can make an informed decision.
Discover lasting relief from your TMJ/TMD symptoms with professional treatment from the dental office of Kurt R. Kwiatkowski DDS, SC in Grafton, WI. For more information about our dental procedures or to schedule an appointment, call 262-377-0852 or send us a message.