Dentist in Centerville discusses TMD: What it is and how it can be managed
If you live with the pain of constant headaches, jaw aches and a head that hurts, you could be suffering from Temporomandibular Joint Disorders, or TMD. There are two main kinds of TMD: those with muscle pain and those with jaw joint pain.
There isn’t one single known cause of TMD, instead it is usually the result of several factors that may include: trauma to the jaw, certain disease, or even arthritis. There can also be other contributing factors to TMD such as clenching and grinding (bruxism), lack of sleep, stress, and muscle tension.
Screening for TMD is a routine part of your regular dental exam at Alex Bell Dental. If it is determined that you have this condition, there are several different ways we can help reduce the chronic pain that many sufferers endure.
Main Factors associated with TMD
- Injury/Trauma – There is significant scientific data that supports that direct injury to the jaw can be associated with the onset of symptoms.
- Habits – Grinding and clenching of the teeth, biting finger nails and even keeping the jaw in an abnormal condition can all be contributing factors to TMD symptoms. While not proven as a known cause, they have been known to worsen the symptoms.
- Stress – Many patients with TMD notice that symptoms can increase as a result of stress or anxiety.
- Disease – Certain types of arthritis, Parkinson’s disease, stroke, and Lou Gehrig’s disease can cause uncontrollable movement of the jaw.
Treatment of TMD
There is no cure for TMD, but there are ways to manage it and alleviate symptoms. The goal is to minimize pain, take pressure off the jaw joints, and make every day movements of the jaw easier. Treatment typically involves a combination of behavioral management and oral appliances.
- Behavioral Management – Persistent habits such as bruxism and nail biting can perpetuate TMD symptoms. Since these habits can be hard to control individually, behavior modification programs can help get them under control long-term.
- Oral Appliance Therapy – Oral appliances, can help position the jaw correctly, redistribute bite force, and even reduce the ability to grind or clench teeth which can all reduce TMD symptoms.
If you live in the Centerville area and feel like you may be suffering with TMD, please call our office and set up a consultation with Dr. Cobb.
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