Here at Lanier Valley Dentistry, we can help with your Temporomandibular Joint Disorders (TMJ/TMD). TMDs are problems affecting your temporomandibular joint or the hinge between your jaw and temporal bones. You may develop TMD due to several reasons such as trauma to the jaw through long-term grinding or clenching of the teeth (bruxism) or direct injury to the jaw. Stress or tension can also trigger muscle spasms leading to TMD. Arthritis of the jaw joint and poor teeth alignment are other causes of TMD.
Certain symptoms will alert you of a possible TMJ/TMD problem. Tenderness in the ear area when speaking, chewing, or opening the mouth could be a sign of this dental problem. When your jaw gets stuck while opening or closing your mouth, you should be concerned about TMD. Headaches that begin in front of the ear, clicking, cracking, or popping sounds could also be signs of TMD.
Diagnosis of TMJ/TMD
When you visit our offices for a TMD checkup, our team of professionals begins the diagnosis process by reviewing the entire history of your problem. You will be asked about the period the symptoms of the problems have occurred. Our professionals conduct a few examinations which include the movement of your jaw, signs of habits like grinding or clenching and feel for tenderness around the TMJ.
Equipment like the stethoscope can be used to listen to the sounds that can suggest the extent of the problem to determine whether your problem is a muscle one or if it involves the disk of the joint or bones. Our professionals often so a panoramic x-ray or regular x-ray to rule out any serious disorder in the joint. Our professionals may also recommend an MRI or a CT scan when they need a more detailed view. The team will also use these exams to check for other conditions that might be the cause of your problems such as toothache, neurological problems, arthritis, and sinus infection. After the check-up, our team of professionals will inform you of the type of TMD you have and the treatment process.
Our team will recommend methods to prevent pressure such as the occlusal orthotic, which will correct teeth clenching or grinding by keeping your teeth slightly apart, thus allowing your jaw muscles to relax. You may be offered relaxation therapy to help you deal with stress.
The treatment process will depend on the cause as determined by our professionals. Conservative treatment options are mostly recommended since most TMDs are associated with sore muscles. Our team will recommend that you go on a soft diet to avoid the progression of TMD. You may be taken through physical therapy such as ultrasound, massage, and heat. Pain relievers will be recommended to deal with the pain caused by TMD. You may also be required to take prescription drugs to ease inflammation as well as to relax muscles.
For more information about TMJ/TMD, call Lanier Valley Dentistry at (678) 802-8654 today!