TMJ/TMD treatment in Cloverly & Silver Spring, Maryland
Do you suffer from chronic headaches in the morning? Is your jaw often stiff or painful to move? Have you ever had an injury to your jaw? If so, you might be suffering from TMD. This particular disorder affects any part of your temporomandibular joint. It can make chewing, talking, and even yawning uncomfortable. Fortunately, in the most common cases of TMD, the disorder is benign and conservative dental treatments in Cloverly & Silver Spring can eliminate discomfort. However, if left unchecked, continued pain from TMD could lead to tooth loss, bone damage, or insomnia. If you suspect you might be suffering from a jaw disorder, it may be time to confide in best dentist in Cloverly & Silver Spring.
TMJ vs. TMD
Though often used interchangeably, TMJ and TMD are technically two different things. The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is the hinge joint of your jaw. It includes the bone, joint, cartilage, and muscles surrounding the jaw. This joint connects the lower jaw to the skull and is what allows you to smoothly move your jaw. It allows talking, chewing, swallowing, and yawning. Whereas, the temporomandibular disorder (TMD) is a result of problems with the TMJ. Often these disorders cause pain and dysfunction of the jaw joint or the muscles controlling the proper function. For some the conditions of TMD occur in cycles of discomfort, and will rarely indicate a serious problem. In these cases, the pain may be resolved with no treatment, or very little treatment. However, there are some who suffer from chronic symptoms of TMD. In these cases, you should seek help from Cloverly & Silver Spring dentist.
Causes of TMD
Professionals do not know the leading causes of TMD. Yet, there are three common risks that continue to play a role in the development of this disorder. Often other health problems like fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, and sleep disorders could compound or contribute to the problem. Beyond that, the cause for TMD is generally unknown and could stem from many different factors. This is why your involvement in the process is critical. Knowing the underlying cause or symptoms of TMD will allow our dentist to place your condition into one of three categories. Then we can develop the most suitable TMD treatments for your needs.
Three Main Categories for TMD
This type of TMD manifests as discomfort or pain in the muscles controlling the jaw. It may also include facial muscles, muscles in the neck, and even the shoulders. This type of pain is often referred to as myofascial pain and is the most common type of TMD. It does not stem from injury or degeneration of the joint, but rather from a constant tension on the muscles or direct injury to the muscles.
This type of TMD often comes from injury causing internal damage of the joint. Often, this will include injured bone, dislocation of the jaw, or even a displaced disk in the socket. The types of trauma to the TMJ are also divided into two categories: microtrauma and macrotrauma. Microtrauma usually refers to damage done internally through bruxism, or clenching the teeth. This constant tension or hammering could move the joint out of place. Macrotrauma stems from a punch to the face or the result of an accident. This usually involves breaking or dislocating the jaw.
This type of TMD comes from the prolonged wear and tear of the TMJ. It will often manifest in the form of arthritis, destruction of cartilage, or inflammation.
Common Symptoms of TMD
- Pain in chewing muscles
- Muscle spasms in the jaw
- Jaw joint pain
- Tooth sensitivity not caused by infection
- Popping or clicking when opening or closing the mouth
- Swelling around the jaw
- Earaches not caused by infection
- Ringing in the ears
- Difficulty chewing
- Changes in the bite
- Malocclusion or misalignment of teeth
- Chronic headaches
- Difficulty swallowing
- Speech abnormalities
Are you constantly suffering from one or more of these conditions? If so, then you might have a more serious case of TMD and should consult with our dentist in Cloverly & Silver Spring about treatment. Though there is no single test to diagnose this disorder, your input will help. Thorough descriptions of symptoms or surrounding risk factors will provide enough information for a proper diagnosis. We will also perform a physical exam of the face and jaw before recommending any form of treatment.
Conservative Treatments for TMD
For some, TMJ disorders are fairly harmless and will not require any form of extensive treatment. Instead, the dentist may recommend some rest and some at-home care. To rest your jaw, you will want to avoid eating hard or chewy foods until the symptoms subside. Also, you should avoid excessive movement of the jaw, like yawning or singing. You may be advised to massage the affected area, or use cool or warm compresses to ease inflammation or promote movement. Another thing you can do is use relaxation techniques to ease the tension of the TMJ. All these conservative treatments will help lessen the symptoms of TMD and, in minor cases, eliminate the problem all together.
Non-Invasive Treatments for TMD
Another type of non-invasive treatment for TMD involves occlusal splints, or bite guards. These are removable devices custom made to fit your teeth. They will help prevent tension on the jaw caused by bruxism or malocclusion. These treatments should not cause permanent changes to your bite, but should simply stabilize your jaw and protect your teeth from unnecessary wear. You might also consider taking certain medications if prescribed by Cloverly & Silver Spring dentists. These could include pain medication, muscle relaxants, or anti-inflammatory medications to ease symptoms.
More Invasive Treatments for TMD
In some select cases of severe TMD, surgical intervention may be required. This only occurs after more conservative methods have failed. The surgical options might include reshaping the condyle, removing loose bone fragments around the joint, or arthrocentesis. These cases are rare and will only be used as a last resort because they permanently alter the jaw, something we wish to avoid if possible.
You do not have to suffer from TMD. Most treatments will be conservative, non-invasive, and affordable. Thanks to medical advances and help from dentists in Cloverly & Silver Spring, you can enjoy a pain free, healthy, and properly functioning jaw. Simply contact us during office hours and set up a consultation for your TMJ disorder.
If you or a loved one is suffering from temporomandibular disorder, then it’s best to seek help as immediately as possible! It can make the simple acts of chewing, yawning, and talking a painful chore, with many long-term impacts. Get both conservative and invasive TMD treatments in Colesville from our clinic!