TMD refers to Temporomandibular Disorder – a condition that impacts jaw joints, facial muscles, ligaments and nerves. It is suggested that TMD is caused by or made worse by injury to the jaw, degenerative disease of the jaw joint like arthritis, excessive clenching and grinding, and bite issues. Though not everyone suffers from TMD it is being noted more often, especially in patients who deal with a high level of stress daily.
Because TMD is not always caused by a specific reason such as infection or trauma, diagnosing this condition consists of putting the pieces of a puzzle together based on a clear description of related symptoms. Patients who deal with symptoms such as, headaches, locked jaw, restricted range of opening, neck and shoulder pain, facial muscle tenderness and clicking and popping of jaw joints can assist their dentist in establishing an accurate diagnosis by sharing these details, even if they may not appear relevant. Sore facial muscles may not seem related to jaw joint issues – but it’s surprising how the entire dental system has to accommodate unhealthy joints.
How is TMD Treated?
Family Dentists at Ranchlands Dental in NW Calgary explain that once TMD has been diagnosed through the use of collected data, which may include x-rays and noted subjective and objective findings, there are ways to control and minimize the symptoms of this condition. It’s important that patients who clench and grind their teeth speak with their dentist about the benefits of wearing a splint (especially at night) to reduce damage to tooth structure and help relax muscles. Interestingly, the shorter teeth become due to grinding the more prominent TMD symptoms can become. This is due to a lack of tooth anatomy, tight muscles and joint inflammation. Ignoring symptoms of TMD doesn’t help matters as significant wear to teeth and jaw joints can result.
General Dentists at Ranchlands Dental encourage patients to seek diagnosis and treatment of jaw joint discomfort to prevent permanent damage to the dental system. Acknowledging that patients of all ages can experience TMD, symptoms that appear in pre-teens and teenagers should be addressed.