You may have stumbled upon plenty of articles about TMD, or temporomandibular disorders, also known as TMJ. Perhaps you have even felt pain in your jaw area, or maybe your dentist or physician has told you that you have TMD. If you have questions about TMJ and TMD treatments, you’re not alone.
What Is TMD or TMJ?
Luckily, jaw pain isn’t necessarily a sure sign of a serious problem, or that TMD/TMJ is present. Experiencing discomfort is often temporary and shouldn’t be a cause for alarm. A small portion of those who experience pain go on to experience the long-term effects of TMD. In any case, if pain persists, contact your dentist, and let them know about the pain.
The temporomandibular joint
The bone that connects the mandible to the temporal bone is called the temporomandibular bone. It’s the much smaller bone on the side of your face, beneath your ears. You can actually feel it move when you bite down and chew.
There are rounded edges (condyles) on the mandible that make jaw movements smooth and painless by sliding back and forth, absorbing any impact your jaw endures while you chew. The idea is that this whole process should work very smoothly, like a well-oiled machine—but in cases of TMD and TMJ, you may experience popping, pressure, and/or pain.
Temporomandibular disorders tend to fall under these major categories:
- Myofascial: Pain in the muscles of the face and as low as the shoulders, caused by TMD
- Internal derangement: Joint or jaw displacement, dislocation, or derangement
- Degenerative joint: This condition is often associated with Osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis
It’s possible for someone to experience each of these conditions at the same time.
What Causes TMD?
When you visit a dentist for TMD treatments, they can help determine the cause of any discomfort. The usual cause of clicking and popping in the jaw joint is a displaced disc. TMD treatment isn’t necessary if the disc displacement isn’t causing any issues. Displacement can happen by either wear and tear, or even blunt-force trauma to the temporomandibular joint.
Mental and physical stress have both been known to aggravate or even instigate TMD. Stress disorders like bruxism can wear the jaw out and cause a lot of pain.
Treatment Options for TMD in Las Vegas
TMD treatments can be conservative and reversible. Conservative treatments are used most often when patients do not have severe, degenerative TMD. Conservative treatments are noninvasive. TMD problems tend to be pretty temporary, so nothing more than simple treatment would be necessary. Speak with your dentist about the right options for you.
When you visit your dentist for TMD treatments, you may be recommended a splint. Also known as a bite plate, splints are mouth guards that greatly reduce pain-causing habits, like grinding, biting too hard, or clenching. If your symptoms continue or come back after treatment, check with the specialists at Balle & Associates.
TMD Treatments at Balle & Associates
Balle & Associates would like to help if you are suffering from joint pain in the jaw and show any of the other symptoms. We’re the Las Vegas dentist office that has years of experience in treating both Bruxism and TMD/TMJ. Give us a call at (702) 825-7468 to schedule an appointment with us today.