Your temporomandibular joint is a joint of bones that connects your jaw to the bones of your skull. You’ll find these in front of each ear, and if you place your fingers near your ear and move your mouth, you’ll be able to feel it. This joint allows movement of your jaw up and down, as well as side to side. All of which enables you to chew, talk, and yawn. If there are problems with your jaw and problems with the muscles in that area too, then it is called temporomandibular disorder, or TMD. In some cases, the surrounding soft tissues can become inflamed, which is where the soreness can come from. It is an area that gets used daily, nearly constantly, which is why stress can be a significant cause of TMD. You are much more likely to clench your jaw, putting more stress on the joints, when you are feeling anxious or stressed.
When there are problems in this area, then TMD therapy will be needed to correct any issues. For most patients, the symptoms of TMD are mild and come and go. Often they will not need any treatment. However, for some of our patients at our practice in Vineyard, Utah, the symptoms are persistent. If, for example, you wake up each morning with a painful jaw or get headaches or blocked ears, then it could be time to seek professional help and advice. Being able to address and treat the causes of these symptoms can help relieve pain, but also to prevent any long term damage.
What are the treatments for TMD Therapy?
It is generally accepted that any TMD symptoms come from jaw misalignments. This could be because of an irregular bite, as well as other reasons. If this is the case, then the majority of treatments will be based around the fitting of oral splints. This will help to separate the bite, which can give some relief from pain, even though this would only be temporary. Of course, you can also take medications to help to relieve the pain and reduce any inflammation. Of course, this is still just a temporary fix.
Other corrective treatments that we at Crawford Leishman can offer range from replacing missing teeth, fitting crowns or bridges, as well as using braces. These methods can all help to correct a bite, and help to balance out the biting surfaces on your teeth. These will relieve pain in a more long-term way, as well as improve the appearance of your teeth.
Looking at corrective jaw surgery could be required where cases are more extreme, perhaps for a particularly big overbite or underbite. Treatments like stress management and lifestyle changes that could be aggravating TMD should also be addressed, if stress of particular lifestyle changes are the cause.
Each of these treatment options can have a big impact on your health, as well as your quality of life. The main benefits of TMD therapy are:
- Alleviating your chronic pain and discomfort.
- Reduce your risk of any further dental damage.
- Enjoy your meals again, rather than avoiding certain foods.
- Protect your ear health.
- Enhance your overall health.
- Boost your mood and your quality of life.
If you have any questions about TMD therapy, then please get in contact with one of our team today.