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TMD and TMJ

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Wichita Orthodontist Explains TMD and TMJ Treatment

TMD or Temporomandibular Disorder is the development of pain in the jaw and muscles surrounding it. This disorder is characterized by abnormal pain or sensation with the jaw, jaw joint, and surrounding facial muscles used for controlling the jaws.

The TMD or temporomandibular joint dysfunction specifically describes the pain in the temporomandibular joint, the part that connects the jaw with the temporal bone of the skull. You use these joints whenever you speak, chew, swallow, yawn, etc. Temporomandibular joint disorder can result in localized pain that is associated with TMD.

What are the symptoms of TMD?

Not all pain in the jaw is attributed to TMD and TMJ, but if you experience any of the following, you should report it to your doctor or dentist:

  • Pain in the jaw and temporomandibular area
  • Pain, ringing, or stuffiness in the ears
  • Frequent headaches or neck aches
  • Restricted movement of the mouth and jaw
  • Clicking or popping sounds when the jaw moves
  • Muscle spasms in the jaw area
  • Change in the alignment of the top and bottom teeth
  • Any bite changes.

Those who suffer from TMD may feel discomfort when they try to perform normal actions like eating and talking. Though the disorder can be treated independently and heal on its own, you should consult a professional if the symptoms continue to affect your quality of life. At Smiles Orthodontics, we can help diagnose and treat your problem, so you can fully recover.

What causes TMD?

TMD can be caused by a number of different reasons. Here are a few common causes:

  • Teeth grinding or bruxism
  • Damaged joint cartilage from arthritis
  • Injury to the jaw
  • Poor posture
  • Misaligned teeth and jaw
  • Clenched teeth

If you exhibit any of these behaviors or have any of these conditions, they could be aggravating your TMD.

Is TMD treatable?

TMD is treatable, but our Wichita orthodontist, Dr. G, recommends taking preventative measures to avoid serious and costly surgery. Here’s how you can prevent TMD:

  • Relax your face
  • Avoid grinding your teeth
  • Avoid gum chewing excessively
  • Chew food evenly on both sides of your mouth
  • Do not sit with your chin rested on your hand
  • Practice good posture — head up, back straight, and shoulders squared
  • Limit extreme facial movements — control your jaw when yawning, speaking, and singing

For some severe cases of TMD, it is possible to realign the jaw to reduce pressure on the temporomandibular joint and muscles. Sometimes custom night guards to prevent grinding teeth can be helpful. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms listed above and are concerned that you’re a candidate for TMD treatment, please contact our office for a consultation.