Family Dentist in Brick NJ Discusses Temporomandibular Joint Disorder
The joint that connects your jaw bone to the temporal bones in your skull is called the temporomandibular joint, or TMJ. On the other hand, TMD or temporomandibular joint disorder is a condition that occurs when a person experiences issues with the muscles in their face.
Signs and Symptoms
There are several different symptoms that indicate TMD. However, TMD is sometimes hard to diagnose since many of its symptoms can be present due to other pre-existing conditions. This is where your dentist comes into play. He or she will be able to make a proper diagnosis by considering your complete dental and medical surgery, conducting a physical exam and taking x-rays of your face and jaw. Still, here are a few symptoms that may indicate TMD.
• Pain focused in the jaw, face or ear.
• Earaches, headaches and pressure behind the eyes.
• Popping or clicking when opening or closing your mouth.
• Lock jaw or the feeling of your jaw being out of place.
• Tenderness or swelling in the face or jaw.
• Difficulty biting or chewing food.
Causes and Diagnosis
Most of the time, TMD is brought on by other issues related to the muscles in your face or the joint itself. If you notice that your jaw is clicking, popping or feels like it gets stuck in place, it is important to talk to your dentist or specialist to determine the cause of the problem.
For a proper diagnosis, your dental professional will conduct a thorough exam and will likely take panoramic x-rays to evaluate the joint and surround tissues. He or she will also evaluate your occlusion and will check for inflammation in the tissues of the head and neck. They may suggest certain exercises and might even refer you to a maxillofacial surgeon for a better diagnosis.
Unfortunately, there are no specific cures for TMD. However, there are many different treatments that can help reduce symptoms. These may include some of the following.
• Trying to stop muscle spasms by applying heat, taking muscle relaxants or anti-inflammatory drugs.
• Wearing a night guard while you sleep.
• Learning new relaxation techniques to reduce stress and help ease tension in your jaw.
• In some cases, dentists may suggest the use of a TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulator) to help relax face and jaw muscles.
• Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
If you believe you may be suffering from TMD, please call your family dentist in Brick, NJ at Pulido Dental Care to schedule a consultation. Our office can be reached at (732) 477-7272.