Do you suffer from persistent jaw pain, tension headaches, or worn teeth? If so, you may be suffering from temporomandibular joint dysfunction/disorder (also referred to as TMJ or TMD), a painful jaw disorder that Dr. Daniel S. Smith, DDS and Dr. Gregory J. Wetterhus, DDS regularly treat successfully.
What Is TMD/TMJ?
TMD affects the temporomandibular joints (TMJ), the joints formed where the upper jaw meets the lower jaw, which is why it is often referred to as TMJ. It also affects the muscles that connect and control the joints. These muscles allow the jaw to move up and down, side to side, forward and backward. TMD results in pain in the jaw, as well as limited movement of it. It can affect an individual’s ability to speak, chew, swallow, and breathe easily.
TMJ affects 20–30% of the adult population; it is more common in women and in those between the ages of 20 and 40.
TMD/TMJ symptoms include:
- Clicking, popping, or grating sounds coming from the jaw
- Muscle pain that can be felt in the cheeks and temples
- Jaw joint pain
- Difficulty opening the mouth wide
- Lockjaw, or the jaw getting stuck open
- A more bulky-looking face
- Severe tension headaches that can be debilitating
What Causes TMD/TMJ?
TMJ is most often caused by physical stress reactions such as clenching and grinding of the teeth, which commonly occur while sleeping. After administering a series of tests to determine the cause of your headaches or TMJ, we’ll develop a personalized treatment plan that works in conjunction with your existing dental lifestyle.
How Is TMD/TMJ Treated?
Treatments may include managing pain with a special diet, stretching exercises, and anti-inflammatory medications; in some complex cases, treatment may require orthodontics, restorations, and cortisone injections. Drs. Smith & Wetterhus will develop a personalized TMJ treatment plan that works in conjunction with your existing dental lifestyle.