Alleviate Jaw Pain with TMD Treatment
Do you experience chronic jaw pain? Do you often wake up with headaches, neck, or shoulder pain? You could have temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD). This condition affects millions of people worldwide, and can have a significant negative impact on your quality of life. At Smile Orthodontics, we provide treatments for TMD so that our patients can alleviate their discomfort and enjoy optimal function and health again.
The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is complex. When the jaw joints are not seated correctly, the surrounding muscles constantly work to move the lower jaw into the proper position. As this continues over time, the muscles become inflamed and tender, placing unnecessary stress on the nerves. In turn, this can lead to chronic pain.
Symptoms of TMD
Those with TMD can experience a variety of symptoms. Some of these include:
- Pain in the jaw, face, ears, shoulders, neck, or back
- Chronic headaches
- Popping or clicking sound when opening or closing the jaw
- Teeth erosion from bruxism (teeth grinding)
- Muscle spasms in the jaw or face
- Limited opening or locked jaw
If you notice any of these symptoms, schedule an appointment right away. We can help you determine if you have TMD, and explore treatments that can help alleviate your pain.
What Causes TMD?
We do not know of a single or specific cause for TMD. However, there are numerous factors that could lead to the disorder, including:
- Bruxism: One of the most common causes of TMD is teeth grinding or clenching. Because this activity often happens during sleep, many patients do not even realize they are doing it. They simply wake up with unexplained pain or discomfort.
- Erosion of the articular disc: Every joint in the body is cushioned by an articular disc, which is made of cartilage. If the cartilage becomes displaced or worn, it can lead to TMD.
- Dislocated jaw joints: Dislocation can be a result of trauma or simply anatomy. If you experience popping or clicking sounds in the jaw joint, you could have TMD.
- Arthritis: Inflammation can result in uncomfortable swelling of the jaw joints and surrounding tissues, which cause the jaw to move out of its ideal position.
- Malocclusion: If your teeth are not in proper alignment, it can place undue pressure on the jaw joints, leading to chronic pain.
Treatment Options for TMD
Depending on the severity of your TMD, there are several treatment options that can provide relief. At Smile Orthodontics, we offer:
- Custom mouth guards: Treating TMD could be as simple as wearing a night guard to prevent grinding or clenching. Some custom guards also reposition the jaw to a more favorable location.
- Traditional braces: If your TMJ issues are due to a misaligned bite, traditional orthodontic treatment may be recommended. By straightening the teeth and correcting your bite, you are addressing the problem at its source.
- Invisalign®: If your misalignment is mild, you may be able to alleviate your TMD with Invisalign
- Orthognathic surgery: When TMD is severe, corrective jaw surgery – or orthognathic surgery – may be required to address the problem. In these cases, our doctors work alongside a trusted oral surgeon (OMS) to provide the ultimate in comprehensive care.
Contact Us to Learn More
If you think you may be suffering from TMD, schedule a consultation at one of our Suffolk, VA locations. By treating TMD now, you can improve your quality of life and prevent more serious problems in the future. Contact us online anytime to learn more.