Temporomandibular dysfunction (TMD) is a condition of the of the jaw muscles, temporomandibular joints, and nerves commonly associated with chronic facial pain. The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is located in front of your ear. It’s where the temporal bones and mandible (lower jaw) come together. We are born with two temporomandibular joints, one on each side of our skull. Because of the position of these joints, TMD commonly causes pain in the lower jaw, face, neck and back.
Causes of TMD
The TMJ is covered by cartilage which helps prevent the bones of the temple and lower jaw from rubbing against each other. The cartilage acts as a shock absorber when the joint is in motion. There are several factors that can contribute to TMD and the pain it causes. They can include:
- Wear or degeneration of the TMJ
- Misaligned or crooked teeth
- Arthritis of the joint
- Bruxism (teeth grinding)
- Sleep apnea
- Poor posture
Symptoms of TMD
There are several indications you may have TMD. They can include:
- Jaw pain
- Popping or clicking of your jaw when eating and talking
- Locking of your jaw
- Frequent headaches
- Tooth pain
- Back pain
- Neck pain
- Pain in your ears
Diagnosis and treatment for TMD
According to the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes for Health, the CT scan is considered to be the best method to assess assessing osseous pathologic conditions of TMJ. It provides 3D images in closed and opened-mouth positions.
There are several treatment options available depending on the cause and severity of your condition. They include:
Custom orthotic (bite splint): worn during sleep to protect align your lower jaw joints and protect your teeth from grinding.
Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulator (TENS): electrical pulses sent through the skin that release endorphins to stop pain signals in the brain.
Prescription anti-inflammatories: to help relax the facial muscles
Physical therapy: to ease pain and help you function better.
Botox: temporarily alleviates the pain
Surgery: a permanent solution to eliminate the pain.
With the very latest 3D scan technologies available, plus advanced training in diagnosing and treating TMD, Dr. Sanchez at Sedation and Implant Dentistry of Tehachapi, will find and treat the cause of your problem as quickly and effectively as possible. Please contact our Tehachapi dental office by calling (661) 822-3727 or schedule an appointment online at DentistTehachapi.com.