Relief from Jaw Pain
At Grandview Center for Dentistry, we care not only about the health of your teeth and gums but your everyday quality of life and well-being. If you suffer from chronic headaches and migraines, jaw pain, or teeth grinding and clenching, you may be one of millions of Americans suffering from TMJ/TMD, and you might not even know it. The good news is, we can finally help you get the relief you deserve.
What is TMJ/TMD?
TMJ stands for the temporomandibular joint or the jaw joint. TMD stands for temporomandibular joint dysfunction and is a term used to describe any type of pain, injury, or dysfunction of the jaw joint, although the terms TMJ and TMD are often used interchangeably.
Sometimes it’s even referred to as TMJD, just to make things confusing. For simplicity, we’ll use TMJ to describe the joint itself, and TMD to describe the condition.
What causes TMD?
There are many factors that can cause and contribute to the development of TMD, stress leading the way as number one. We all hold stress in different parts of our body, but for many of us, stress manifests physically in the form of teeth grinding and clenching or bruxism.
It can be difficult to say whether your bruxism caused your TMD or the other way around, but the two go hand-in-hand. Other causes of TMD include misaligned teeth, improper bite, or a traumatic injury to the joint itself.
It’s interesting and important to note that the majority of TMD sufferers are women. Research is still trying to figure out exactly why this is, but there are many factors that may contribute to this gender discrepancy. Women in their childbearing years make up 90% of TMD patients, which makes sense when you think about stress levels. There are also differences in the physical joint structure of women and men, hormone receptors in the TMJ, and women are more prone to arthritis and vitamin deficiencies that cause joint problems.
What are the symptoms?
If you suffer from TMD, many of these may sound familiar to you. Some of the most common signs and symptoms of TMJ dysfunction include teeth grinding and clenching (bruxism), pain and tension in the jaw joint, headaches, migraines, neck and shoulder pain.
Your teeth will likely become worn down over time from the clenching and grinding, and your teeth themselves may be sore from the excessive pressure.
How can we help?
In order to treat you for TMD, we need to get to the bottom of what’s causing it. First, you will sit down one-on-one in a comprehensive consultation with Dr. Lervick. She will perform a thorough exam, take x-rays if necessary, and ask you questions to determine what might be causing your pain.
Once we determine if your TMD is caused by stress, bruxism, bite alignment, or a traumatic injury, we can create a customized treatment plan to ease tension and restore balance. Depending on the cause and severity of your case, your treatment may involve any of the following treatment methods.
A custom mouthguard or night guard can work wonders to protect your teeth and cushion the jaw joint to relieve the overnight clenching and grinding that’s causing your pain.
Orthodontics or Restorative Work
If your TMD is caused by alignment and bite problems, we may be able to correct the issue by bringing your teeth and bite into a better alignment.
If your TMD is the result of a traumatic injury or a problem with the joint itself, or if your case is severe, you may need corrective jaw surgery to treat the issue.