When we think of dental issues, we often jump to certain conditions we are familiar with, such as tooth decay, gum disease, or problematic wisdom teeth that need to be removed. However, the mouth is extremely complex and many other problems can develop. This includes a condition known as TMD, or “temporomandibular joint disorder.” This is caused by a malfunction of the temporomandibular joint. When problematic, this joint can cause patients a lot of pain and discomfort. Continue reading to learn more about the TMJ and how a dentist can alleviate problems associated with its malfunctioning.
Dr. Heather F. Fleschler describes the TMJ
The temporomandibular joint is a complex but small joint positioned in front of the ear where the lower jaw, or mandible, meets the temporal bone of the skull. This joint allows the mandible to move both up and down and side to side, so that we can talk, chew, and yawn.
How does the temporomandibular joint cause oral and dental problems?
Problems with this joint are relatively common and can cause pain in the face, jaw, and neck as well as clicking or popping sounds when moving the jaw. These problems are collectively known as temporomandibular disorders (TMD).
There are many possible causes of TMD, but it is often difficult to determine the exact cause. Most cases are thought to be due to a combination of factors, including muscle tension or spasm, joint misalignment, teeth grinding (bruxism), arthritis, and injury.
There are a variety of different medical treatments available for TMD, depending on the underlying cause. These include:
- Self-care measures, such as relaxation techniques and over-the-counter pain relievers
- Dental appliances, such as mouth guards
- Physical therapy and exercises
- In some cases, surgery
If you are experiencing symptoms of TMD, it is critical that you see a dentist for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment. Untreated TMD can often lead to long-term problems, such as chronic pain, difficulty chewing or speaking, and even changes in the alignment of the teeth. A solution is just a phone call away! Connect with our team today in Houston, TX by calling 713-660-6500 and scheduling a consultation visit with Dr. Heather F. Fleschler.