TMJ Discomfort Relief
What is TMJ / TMD?
What are the symptoms of TMD?
The most common symptom of Temporomandibular Joint Disorder is popping or clicking sounds when you open and close your mouth. These sounds may or may not be accompanied by pain. Additional symptoms of TMD include general tension in the jaw or face, ringing in the ears, dizziness, neck pain and chronic headaches, including migraines. The nature of symptoms presents a challenge to the objective or reaching an accurate diagnosis. Our team uses specific instruments and protocols to observe the structure of the jaw and how it may be a trigger for uncomfortable symptoms.
What causes TMD?
Research suggests a few potential causes of TMD, though this condition is not completely understood at this point. There is a possibility that multiple factors contribute to dysfunction and tightness in the muscular structure that supports the temporomandibular joints. These include:
- Excessive gum chewing.
- Bruxism (teeth grinding).
- Stress and anxiety (which could cause bruxism).
- Trauma to the jaw.
- Malocclusion, or a bad bite.
- Poor posture.
- Existing musculoskeletal disorder or arthritis.
Can I treat TMD on my own?
There are instances of TMD that may be related to excessive stress on the jaw, such as bruxism. Minor and temporary symptoms of this condition may be relieved with lifestyle modifications such as:
- Applying ice to the cheek for a few minutes.
- Taking over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication such as ibuprofen.
- Developing strategies to manage stress.
- Eating soft foods for a short period of time.
- Avoid chewing gum until symptoms improved.
- Gentle massage to the jaw and neck muscles.
It is important to obtain professional care for symptoms of TMD if improvement is not achieved with lifestyle habits alone or if symptoms have occurred for more than a few weeks.
How is TMD diagnosed?
Step One: Consultation
- Have you sustained an injury to the jaw or face?
- Where does pain occur and what is the intensity of pain?
- When does pain occur (triggers)?
- Do symptoms affect one or both sides of the face?
Step Two: Examination
A neuromuscular dental examination is performed to help us understand the physical state of the jaw and the temporomandibular joints. We may listen as you open and close your mouth and may gently palpate the joints as you do this.
The range of motion of your jaw will be observed, and the muscles around the TMJs will be felt.
Step Three: Diagnostic Tests
- K7 electromyography. Electromyography, or EMG, monitors the electrical impulses of the muscles in the jaw. This test helps us recognize if jaw pain is stemming from the muscles themselves or from a structural irregularity.
- TENS therapy is used diagnostically to observe the jaw’s natural resting position.
How is TMD treated?
TMD treatment may include:
- Continued treatment with TENS therapy to facilitate muscle relaxation in the jaw.
- Temporary use of an oral appliance, similar to a mouthguard, to support the retraining of jaw muscles.
- Structural changes in the form of porcelain crowns to support a balanced bite.
Neuromuscular dentistry is a valuable resource for patients with TMD. Give us a call to learn more about our diagnostic and treatment protocols.