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Preventing Temporomandibular Joint Disorders

Can you imagine a life where you are unable to enjoy your favorite foods, not being able to smile or constantly having pain in your jaw joint? Without a doubt, no one would love to be in this situation; but people who suffer from Temporomandibular Joint Disorders are constantly at risk of suffering jaw pain, even when smiling. Recently, patient visiting Sani Dental Group ask us who is at risk of developing TMD? We invite you to read this article and prevent the risk of developing this oral disease.

Temporomandibular Joint Disorders; are you at Risk?

All of us have a special joint in our jaw, this joint is a hinge that connects your jaw to the temporal bones of your skull, these are located in front our your ear. This joint, lets you move your jaw up and down, side to side, allows you to chew, talk or yawn. When you have problems in your jaw and the muscles in your face that control it, the problem is known as temporomandibular disorders (TMD).

FACT: The dental problem is call temporomandibular disorders (TMD); but many wrongly called it TMJ, after the joint.

What Causes TMD?

At the moment dentist have not determine the main causes of TMD, but some dentist believe symptoms arise from problems in your jaw muscles or parts of the joint itself. These problems could be caused; because you have experienced an injury to your jaw, the joint or the muscles of your head and neck. Other causes include:

  • Arthritis in the joint (Jaw Area)
  • Clenching your teeth
  • Movement of the soft cushion or disc between the ball and socket of the joint
  • Stress
  • Teeth Grinding

What Are the Symptoms?

TMD can cause severe pain and discomfort, this pain can be temporary or can last for many years and can affect either the left side or the right side of your face. Common symptoms include:

  • Pain or tenderness when you chew, speak, or open your mouth wide (pain can be felt in your face, jaw joint area, around the ear or in the neck or shoulders)
  • Clicking, grating, or popping sounds in the jaw joint when you chew or open/close your mouth
  • Inability or problems to open your mouth wide
  • Jaws that get "stuck" or "lock"
  • Swelling on the side of your face

Diagnosing TMD

Do the symptoms mention above, seem familiar? If you said yes, is because similar symptoms can be felt when one suffers from: arthritis, gum disease, or sinus problems, tooth decay. To properly diagnosed TMD, your dentist will ask you a few question regarding your health history and physical exam.
To properly determine your dentist will check your jaw joint for pain or tenderness, the dentists will listen for clicks, pops, or other sounds when you open your mouth. Afterwards, your dentists may take a full face X-rays, through the x-ray he will be able to view your jaws, temporomandibular joints and teeth helping him rule out any other dental problems. In some cases the dentist may need to a computer tomography (CT). The CT Scan will show the dentist if the TMJ disc is in the proper position and other details not visible to the eye. Once TMD has been diagnosed your dentist will offer you several treatment options.

Treatments for TMD

Home Treatments

There are several home remedies that can help you relieve TMD symptoms, these include:

  • Avoid extreme jaw movements
  • Don't rest your chin on your hand
  • Eat soft foods
  • Keep your teeth slightly apart
  • Learn relaxation techniques
  • Take over-the-counter medications
  • Use moist heat or cold packs

Traditional Treatments

When home remedies do not relieve TMD symptoms, your dentist might recommend one of the following:

Dental Work: During the diagnoses your dentist might need to replace missing teeth and use crowns, bridges, or braces to properly balanced your bite and correct any bite problem associated to TMD.

Medications: Depending on severity of the problem, the dentist might suggest a muscle relaxer to relax your jaw if you grind or clench your teeth an anti-anxiety medication to relieve stress or other medicines that will help relieve pain associated to TMD.

Night Guard: These plastic mouth pieces will help to correct your bite, relieving pain and absorb the effects of clenching or grinding your teeth.

Surgery for TMD

Once all the above treatment option have been done and still don't offer the results you deserve, your dentist might recommend surgery; but this should be the last resource, once it’s done, it can’t be undone, so get a third or fourth opinion from other dentists. The surgery might include: Arthrocentesis or Arthroscopy or Open-joint surgery.

There are many oral problems that can affect you, some estimates suggest that over 10 million Americans are affected and TMD affects more than twice as many women than men. However ever you don’t have to be a victim to TMD, Sani Dental Group invites you to come to Los Algodones, allow our team of professional to properly treat this oral problem. Contact one of our patient coordinators and allow us to protect your smile, keep your teeth strong and pain free.