WHAT IS TEMPOROMANDIBULAR DYSFUNCTION MANAGEMENT?

Your temporomandibular joint is a hinge that connects your jaw to the temporal bones of your skull, which are in front of each ear. It lets you move your jaw up and down and side to side, so you can talk, chew, and yawn. Problems with your jaw and the muscles in your face that control it are known as temporomandibular dysfunction or more widely known as temporomandibular disorder (TMD).

WHAT CAUSES TMD?

The causes of TMD are not specific. Dentists believe symptoms arise from problems with the muscles of your jaw or with the parts of the joint itself. Injury to your jaw, the joint, or the muscles of your head and neck like from a heavy blow or whiplash can lead to TMD.

Other causes include:

  • Grinding or clenching your teeth, which puts a lot of pressure on the joint
  • Movement of the soft cushion or disc between the ball and socket of the joint
  • Arthritis in the joint
  • Stress, which can cause you to tighten facial and jaw muscles or clench the teeth

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTONS?

TMD often causes severe pain and discomfort. It can be temporary or last many years. It might affect one or both sides of your face. More women than men have it, and it’s most common among people between the ages of 20 and 40.

HOW IS TMD DIAGNOSED?

Many other conditions cause similar symptoms like tooth decay, sinus problems, arthritis, or gum disease. To figure out what's causing yours, the dentist will ask about your health history and conduct a physical exam.

Which will be conducted by:

  • Checking the jaw joints for pain or tenderness and
  • Listening for clicks, pops, or grating sounds when you move them
  • Making sure your jaw works like it should and doesn’t lock when you open or close your mouth
  • Testing your bite and check for problems with your facial muscles.

HOME TREATMENTS FOR TMD

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

OTHER TREATMENTS

  • Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS)
  • Ultrasound
  • Trigger-point injections
  • Radio wave therapy
  • Low-level laser therapy

SURGERY FOR TMD

If other treatments can’t help you, surgery is an option, once it’s done it can’t be undone, so get a second or even third opinion from other dentists. There are three types of surgery for TMD, the type you need depends on the problem.

  • Arthrocentesis
  • Arthroscopy
  • Open-joint surgery

 

* Your dentist may take full face X-rays so he can view your jaws, temporomandibular joints, and teeth to rule out other problems. He may need to do other tests, like magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or computer tomography (CT). The MRI can show if the TMJ disc is in the proper position as your jaw moves. A CT scan shows the bony detail of the joint.

You may get referred to an oral surgeon (also called an oral and maxillofacial surgeon) for further care and treatment. This doctor specializes in surgery in and around the entire face, mouth, and jaw area. You may also see an orthodontist to ensure your teeth, muscles, and joints work like they should.

** PLEASE CONSULT WITH YOUR DENTIST FOR FURTHER INFORMATION ABOUT PROCEDURES, RISKS, COMPLICATIONS AND/OR ADVICE REGARDING YOUR CONDITION