If you have pain or discomfort around the jaw, clicking, or grinding noises when you move your jaw, or unexplained headaches around the temples you may have TMJ/TMD. Consult our dentists at Southern Family Dental Care who are skilled in the diagnosis and treatment of this problem to determine what is the right course of treatment for you.
Temporomandibular disorders (TMD) develop because of problems with the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), jaw, and surrounding facial muscles. The TMJ connects the lower jaw to your skull, enabling the jaw to open and close to facilitate eating and speaking. TMJ/TMD disorders are a group of health problems that may cause tenderness, pain, and difficulty moving the jaw.
What Causes TMJ and TMD?
There is not always an easy answer to the question about the causes of TMJ/TMD. Certainly, trauma to the jaw may have an effect, but other health issues may also play a role.
Arthritis can affect the jaw and may be caused by osteoarthritis, which is a degenerative form of the disease. Osteoarthritis may occur in just one or both jaw joints and tends to be more common as you get older.
Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic, inflammatory condition whereby the immune system attacks the healthy tissue in the joints. It is a chronic condition that affects both sides of the jaw.
An autoimmune, inflammatory joint condition, it occurs in about 30% of people who suffer from the skin condition psoriasis. Its symptoms may tend to come and go, although it is a chronic condition.
Bruxism is the habitual grinding or clenching of teeth. It is usually related to stress or anxiety and people are not always aware they are doing it. It often happens during sleep.
Some dental problems may cause TMJ/TMD. Overbite or underbite may contribute to the abnormal position of the jaw, which can cause damage to teeth as well as pain or discomfort in the jaw joints.
How Do I Know if I Have TMJ/TMD?
While it is true that dentists look after your teeth, they also look after the mouth as part of a system, which includes the jawbone. Our dentists have extensive knowledge in the diagnosis and treatment of TMJ/TMD conditions caused by problems with tooth and jaw alignment.
Orthodontic treatments, such as braces, are one of the treatments that a dentist can recommend to help realign the teeth so that your jaw opens and closes in the correct position and to alleviate the symptoms of TMJ.
If your TMJ is caused by teeth grinding, the dentist can recommend you wear a dental appliance to prevent your teeth grinding. As well as easing your TMJ symptoms, an appliance can improve your dental health by preventing the wear on your teeth that may lead to other dental problems.
Missing teeth - especially in the back of the mouth - may also be a cause of TMJ dysfunction as your bite may become unbalanced, creating uneven pressure across the mouth and the jaw. Tooth replacement options include dental implants or dental bridges, which may be a simple solution to your TMJ problem.
Get in touch with our team at Southern Family Dental Care to discuss your TMJ/TMD symptoms by calling 470-410-9774 to book an appointment.