Do you ever suffer from facial and neck pain or recurring headaches? You’re not alone. Millions of people suffer from this type of pain. Finding a solution might be difficult because there could be various causes. Your pain might result from a temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ-TMD), which connects the lower jawbone to the skull.
You may not think to check with your dentist on remedies, but you should. There is hope at Prince Dental Group. We can help relieve TMD pain through therapy and provide tips on how to prevent this disorder.
What is the Temporomandibular Joint?
The phrase “temporomandibular joint” is quite a mouthful. We often abbreviate it with TMJ. The TMJ is a small, complex joint located in front of the ear where the lower jaw (mandible) meets the skull’s temporal bone. The TMJ is responsible for the up and down motion of the lower jaw and allows for chewing, talking, and yawning.
The TMJ is a synovial joint, which means that it is lined with cartilage and has a small amount of fluid between the bones to help reduce friction. The TMJ is unique because it is one of the only joints in the body that can move in multiple planes of motion.
The TMJ is held together by muscles, ligaments, and a thin cartilage disc. This disc acts as a shock absorber and helps to distribute forces across the joint evenly. Disruptions to any of these structures can lead to pain and dysfunction.
Many people experience pain in the TMJ without having any underlying structural damage. This is known as myofascial pain syndrome, and we often treat it with physical therapy or injection therapy. However, if there is structural damage to the TMJ, surgery may be necessary to correct the problem.
What is TMJ/TMD?
TMD is an abbreviation for “temporomandibular joint disorder,” a disorder that can limit your ability to chew and even speak. At Prince Dental Group, we don’t think anyone should have to suffer from this disorder.
This disorder includes conditions that can cause pain and dysfunction in the jaw joint and muscles that control jaw movement.
What Are the Symptoms of TMJ/TMD?
Symptoms of TMD include:
- Pain in the face, jaw, or ear.
- Clicking or popping sounds when moving the jaw.
- Limited ability to open or close the mouth.
What Causes TMD?
TMD can be caused by several different factors, including:
- Stress: Stress can cause teeth grinding (bruxism) which can lead to TMD.
- Arthritis: Arthritis in the TMJ can cause pain and limited jaw movement.
- Dislocated Disc: A dislocated disc can cause the bones in the joint to rub together, causing pain and limited jaw movement.
- Trauma: A blow to the head or face can cause TMD.
- Bad Bite: teeth that do not fit together properly can stress the TMJ and cause TMD.
What Can We Do About TMJ/TMD?
At Prince Dental Group, we offer various treatments for TMD depending on the severity of your symptoms. Treatment for TMD depends on the disorder’s underlying cause but may include medication, physical therapy, splint therapy, or surgery.
If you’re experiencing pain, we might recommend massages or heat/cold therapy. We can also fit you with a mouthguard to prevent teeth from grinding at night. If your TMD results from misaligned teeth, we might recommend braces or other dental appliances.
Live Your Life Pain-Free in Midway, Utah
Don’t let chronic facial and neck pain keep you from living your life. Schedule an appointment with Dr. Prince and the Prince Dental Group team today and start feeling better tomorrow.
We will work with you to develop a treatment plan that alleviates your pain and gets you back to enjoying life. We offer convenient hours and evening appointments so that you can find a time that works for you. Let’s get you started on a path to relief. Contact us today!