One of the most important structures in dental health is the temporomandibular joint, where the mandible (your lower jaw) connects to the skull. A complex combination of connective tissues, bone, and muscles comprises this joint, making it susceptible to a number of disorders. These disorders are broadly lumped under the term ‘Temporomandibular Joint Disorder’ and include a number of symptoms addressable by a variety of treatment methods that range from simple injections to surgery.
General dentists can help with a wide range of dental concerns, including TMJ disorder
Are You Experiencing Symptoms of TMJ Disorder?
Due to the complexity of the TMJ and the number of tissues, it contains, the types of symptoms TMD can present with is broad. The broadly defined TMD is one of the most common musculoskeletal conditions that cause pain experienced in the United States. As the 2nd most common condition of its type, nearly 12% of all Americans suffer from some variation of it, with women showing symptoms twice as often as men. Below are some of the most common symptoms of TMD:
- Soreness In The Jaw
- Radiating shoulder, neck, face, or back pain
- Popping or clicking in the jaw
- Bruxism (Clenching or grinding of the teeth)
- Tingling or numbness in the fingers
- Changes in bite
- Reduced mouth motions
- Tinnitus or Earache
If you’re experiencing symptoms like these, it’s essential that you schedule an appointment to visit your dentist to determine the cause. In the event that it is determined that you are experiencing an occurrence of TMD, your dentist will begin to suggest a course of treatment to help relieve the symptoms.
The treatments for TMD are as varied as the condition itself
Treatments Available From Your General Dentist For TMD
The factors that go into deciding on a treatment for your TMD are many, and including your age, medical history, personal preference, and sensitivities to allergies and treatments. Also relevant is how long the TMD you’re experiencing is expected to last. In many cases, TMD can be a temporary condition, especially when the symptoms are related to stress, as is common in Bruxism. The potential treatment options include simple rest for the joint, over-the-counter pain relievers, physical therapy, and, when necessary, surgery.
The majority of treatment methods for TMD can be performed by your dentist, though some may require the assistance of outside professionals. An example would be therapy to help address sources of stress and to learn relaxation techniques that can help with your symptoms. An orthopedic specialist may be called in if you are in need of special appliances that can help adjust your bite and ease the pressure being applied to your TMD, leading to symptoms. Contact your dentist to schedule an appointment and receive a consultation on your best options.