Here at Dr. Kurt Gibson, DDS, we offer treatments for those who are struggling with temporomandibular disorders. These disorders are also known as TMD or TMJ and are affecting the temporomandibular joint which connects the temporal bones of your skull with your jaw. It is responsible for the movement of your jaw allowing you to yawn, chew or talk.
The cause of TMD is not known, but there are many speculations. The symptoms are most likely related to jaw injuries or damages on the muscles of your neck and head. They can also be caused by teeth grinding, joint arthritis and even stress in some cases.
Unfortunately, TMD is generally very painful and uncomfortable. The symptoms can affect one or both sides of your face and can last a long period, even years. The disease is more common in women aged between 20 and 40 years.
The pain can occur in your jaw joint but also around the ear, neck, and shoulders. It intensifies when you talk, chew or otherwise move your joint. The jaw can also lock in a certain position or emit popping sounds when you open your mouth. Other common symptoms are trouble with chewing, swelling, headaches, dizziness and ear discomfort.
If you feel several of these symptoms, you should contact us immediately. However, they may not be related to TMD since other conditions have very similar symptoms, such as sinus disease, gum disease, and tooth decay. To see what you’re dealing with, we will need to conduct a proper physical exam.
During our primary testing, we will check the tenderness of your jaw joints while also detecting if they are any clicking or grating sounds as you open and close your mouth. We will also investigate if your jaw locks and check your bite, as well as your facial muscles. If this exam doesn’t give reliable results, you may also need full face x-rays and possibly some other tests such as MRI and CT. These tests will rule out other conditions and give the most accurate conclusions.
Once we have a proper diagnosis, we can choose one of the tested treatments. The correct choice of the procedure will depend on your case, and we may combine several to ensure the best result. Medications are common, and NSAIDs can be prescribed if you feel severe pain or swelling. Sometimes stress relievers are also recommended, allowing you to relax your jaw and stop grinding or clenching your teeth.
Clenching and grinding can be further treated by using a night guard or a splint. A night guard is worn only during the night while the splint is created for everyday use. The correct choice depends on individual issues. We may also need to use bridges or braces to correct potential bite problems as well as to replace missing teeth if you have any.
If these procedures don’t help, there are additional steps we can do. In any case, TMD is a serious problem and if you feel any symptoms make sure you give a call to our professionals here at Dr. Kurt Gibson, DDS at (336) 283-2593!