This question can be confusing, but the answer is simpler than you think. When you say TMJ, you may actually mean TMD. TMJ refers to the joint that connects your upper jaw to your lower jaw, or in medical terminology, the temporomandibular joint.
However, if you’re experiencing several uncomfortable symptoms that involve that joint, it is possible you suffer from TMD, or temporomandibular disorder.
Symptoms of TMD
The symptoms of TMD are not limited to your joint. You may experience discomfort in your jaw, ear, nose, throat, neck, and face. Here are some common indicators of TMD:
- Jaw ache
- Jaw popping/clicking
- Jaw fatigue when you chew or open your mouth widely
- Earache and/or headache
- Discomfort in your face, neck, and/or jaw
- Stiff jaw muscle
- Jaw locks in place when you open your mouth
This combination of symptoms can be misleading. You might think you’re suffering from migraines, a sinus infection, or even an ear infection, when you actually have TMD. It’s important to see us for an accurate evaluation.
How does TMD develop?
The cause of TMD is not completely known, but we have been able to determine contributing factors. Clenching and grinding your teeth is a common factor in cases of TMD. So is trauma to the jaw or misaligned teeth. A careful examination can help us narrow down the root cause.
Why should I treat TMD?
The top benefit of treating TMD is relief for all those uncomfortable symptoms. You will likely experience a reduction in headaches, earaches, and/or jaw stiffness. With minimized symptoms, you’re free to enjoy your days much more. Additionally, early treatment can prevent the problem from progressing and becoming worse.
What are the treatments for TMD?
There are several treatments for TMD.A first step is often a custom “Night Guard Appliance” worn each night to reduce clenching and grinding. Often this treatment helps us eliminate the jaw symptoms completely or aid diagnosis of a root cause. If we determine that the root cause of your TMD requires additional or different treatment, we will discuss your options with you.
Take Control of Your Dental Care.
At Caldwell Dental Care, we strive to provide you with your best treatment options. We’re here to answer your questions. Call for your appointment today!