At South Austin Dental, we have the expertise to help with any TMJ-TMD problems that you might have. You might have experienced, or maybe you’re currently experiencing constant pain in the area around your jaw and ear, or maybe on the muscles on the sides of your face. If you also hear a popping or clicking sound or find that your jaw movement is restricted, you might have TMD.
TMD is short for Temporomandibular disorders. Some people call it TMJ, but that term refers to the temporomandibular joints themselves, which isn’t the same as having TMD. Thus, TMD is a set of conditions that cause pain and discomfort in the TMJ or the muscles around them.
If your TMD seems to be lasting a long time and you’re in extreme pain or can barely open or close your jaw, see us for a thorough examination so we can assess the problem and recommend proper treatments.
What are the Signs and Symptoms of TMD?
There are three main signs of TMD: muscle pain, joint pain and clicking sounds. Muscle pain is felt in the cheeks and the temples since this is where the two pairs of jaw-closing muscles are found. Clenching or grinding the teeth during the night can result in stiffness and soreness when you wake up in the morning.
By visiting us, we can get you a custom-made night guard to keep you from applying force on your teeth. This should help your muscles relax and help reduce the pressure applied on your joints.
Joint pain is considered TMJ arthritis. However, some people may have TMJ that appear to have arthritis when seen through radiographs but have no symptoms of pain or dysfunction.
Finally: clicking, grating or popping sounds. We left this one for last since it’s not a significant symptom on its own. About one-third of people have been known to have clicking jaw joints, so don’t worry if you’re on this list. The concern arises when these sounds are paired with pain or jaw function that appears limited.
How we can Help You
By thoroughly examining your situation and, if necessary, through the help of x-rays, we can suggest an action plan to help you treat your TMD. Our action plan can include anything from relaxation techniques to referrals to therapists (both physical and behavioral) who can help you ease your muscle pain.
In some cases, we might prescribe medicine to reduce inflammation and pain. If your TMD is affecting your sleep, we can also suggest different approaches such as wearing a night guard, as mentioned before. If the pain persists, the last resort is surgery, which is rarely necessary. This will only be determined after a thorough assessment and if your situation has reached a point where you can barely open your jaw.
Grinding or gnashing your teeth, also known as bruxism, can also lead to TMJ-TMD.
Whatever your situation, reach out to us at South Austin Dental at (512) 441-8922 for your personalized consultation today. We can then help you overcome TMD and start improving your everyday life.