The temporomandibular joint, or TMJ, is a joint that connects the jawbone to the skull. There is one temporomandibular joint on each side of the head. When this joint is not functioning properly, there can be symptoms of what is known as TMD, or temporomandibular joint disorder. Dysfunction of this joint can be caused by a number of different issues, including bruxism (teeth grinding), arthritis of the jaw, or even genetic factors. The temporomandibular joint has a disk of cartilage in between the movable bones, and when this disk is worn over time or is misaligned from trauma or arthritic damage, TMD can develop. When this occurs, an experienced dentist can usually offer non-invasive treatments that can help a great deal.
Signs of TMD
There are common symptoms that may arise when the TMJ is not functioning properly, and these symptoms can give the patient a clue that TMD is developing. One of these is headache. Chronic aching in the head, the face, or the jaw may indicate that the TMJ has limited motion or is inflamed or out of alignment. Difficulty with chewing or pain while chewing can also mean that the TMJ or surrounding muscles are inflamed. A clicking or popping sound with jaw movement is also a common sign of TMD. A person with TMD may notice a change in their bite, and may even sometimes feel pressure behind the eyes, or chronic earaches. Often, these symptoms will simply go away on their own, but when they become an irritating part of everyday life, it’s time to see a dentist.
Diagnosis and Treatment of TMD
If TMD is a persistent problem for you, it is wise to be evaluated by a dentist. If you put off diagnosis and treatment for too long, the problem may become more severe and may require surgical intervention. An experienced dentist can evaluate you for TMD in several ways. He or she can palpate the jaw and observe its range of motion. Tests like X rays or an MRI can also be ordered to determine whether there are problems with the joint disk or surrounding tissue and bone. A bite analysis may be ordered to see if the jaws are in proper alignment. Once a diagnosis is made, treatment can be initiated and may consist of mouth guards, physical therapy, or medications like muscle relaxants. After trying a certain treatment, the dentist can evaluate its success and then either continue with the same treatment or recommend another.
Call to Schedule an Appointment With a California TMD Dentist Today
If you have symptoms that lead you to suspect you may be suffering from TMD, call to schedule an appointment with a California TMD dentist today. The professionals at the iSmile Dental Spa will help you find the cause of your TMD and will recommend effective treatment that works for you. Don’t let symptoms of TMD interfere with your everyday life! We serve Carmichael, Arden-Arcade, Rancho Cordova, Fair Oaks, North Highlands and surrounding communities. Check out our website at ismiledentalspa.com or give us a call at 916-979-7122 and let us work with you to relieve your TMD today.