TMD Treatment Wareham MA
Many people suffer from temporomandibular disorders (TMD). TMD involves pain near the ear, jaw or side of the face. In many cases, people may also experience a popping or clicking sound or limited jaw movement. These conditions are caused by the dysfunction of the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) and the surrounding muscles.
You have two TMJs that connect your lower jaw to the temporal bone of both sides of the skull. These joints are complex and allow movement in three dimensions. There is a cushioning disk between the lower jaw and temporal bone. Muscles in the temples and cheeks move the lower jaw. Any of these parts can cause a TMD problem.
Signs and Symptoms of TMD
- Clicking Sounds. Some people with TMD experience a clicking or popping coming from the TMJ when opening or closing the mouth. This is typically caused by the disk shifting inside the joint. It can be so loud that someone standing next to you might even be able to hear it. More than 30% of people have jaw joints that click, so clicking by itself is not a major symptom of TMD. However, if the clicking causes significant pain or causes the jaw to get stuck open or closed, then this would indicate TMD.
- Muscle Pain. TMD can cause muscle pain in the cheeks and temples. These are where the two big pairs of jaw-closing muscles are located. If your jaw is sore and stiff when you wake up in the morning, it typically means that you clench or grind your teeth at night. Your dentist can make you a custom-made nightguard to decrease the force applied to your teeth. This will allow your muscles to relax and relieve the pressure on your jaw joints.
- Joint Pain. If you are experiencing pain from one or both jaw joints, that would technically be described as arthritis of the TMJ. X-rays sometimes show that people have arthritic-looking TMJs but no pain or dysfunction. On the other hand, some people experience significant symptoms of pain and dysfunction but X-rays may show that their joints look normal. While there is no cure for any type of arthritis, medication can help alleviate painful symptoms.
Relieving the Pain
Your dentist can assess your situation and develop a plan to help manage your pain. Sometimes changes to your diet can reduce stress on the muscles and joints. Ice or heat can help with inflammation and soreness. Muscle spasms can be eliminated with gentle stretching exercises. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications and muscle relaxants can provide pain relief.
For severe TMD cases, more complex forms of treatment may be required. These may include orthodontics, dental restorations or procedures such as cortisone injections. Major surgery is rare and only done as a last resort.
Contact Us Today
TMD is a painful but treatable condition. If home remedies haven’t worked, get help from a dentist. The dentists at Wareham Family Dental can help you understand the many treatment options available to help you. Schedule a consultation today by calling (508) 295-7476.