Temporomandibular joint disorder: it’s a confusing name with an equally confusing set of symptoms and causes that you might not understand, but that’s why we’re here! Today’s blog post will discuss the truths behind TMD and dispel some of the myths that hang around no matter what we seem to say!
Before we begin, let’s take a second to talk about what TMD really is. Your temporomandibular joint, or TMJ, is the joint right below your temples where your jaw connects to your skull. It allows you to open your mouth, chew, speak, and do anything else you’d normally do with your mouth – you can see pretty quickly how important your TMJ is! TMD occurs when the joint stops working normally.
TMD symptoms include pain in your face, pain when you bite down, difficulty opening your mouth, lockjaw, migraine-like symptoms, and muscle soreness in your neck, shoulders, and back. TMD pain can be debilitating and miserable, but there are a lot of misconceptions about it – hopefully we can help you better understand this condition!
Myth #1: TMD Is Just Caused By a Bad Bite
It’s a common misconception that TMD has one cause: malocclusion, or a misaligned bite. While many patients with TMD are suffering from this condition there are many more conditions that contribute to the development of TMD.
Rather than thinking of TMD as one particular problem, it’s important to see it as a set of disorders of the joint – isn’t simply happen due to one thing, it’s a problem caused by a number of aggravating factors!
- Bruxism, or the clenching and grinding of teeth, is a frequent cause of TMD. The constant stress and irritation to the joint results in damage and pain that can be miserable!
- The soft tissue cushion between your jaw and skull can shift out of place.
- Stress is another major factor in the development of TMD!
- Injuries, such as whiplash, are known to be causes.
Myth #2: Treating TMD Requires Surgery
You’ve heard about other painful joint conditions, and perhaps someone you know has told you that a bad joint that’s as painful as your TMD is going to mean surgery, but that’s the furthest thing from the truth! In fact, most TMD treatments are non-invasive, easy, and fairly inexpensive!
At Fairhope Cosmetic Dentistry we offer several methods of treating your TMD pain that don’t require any surgery at all! For the vast majority of patients these devices and procedures are completely successful!
- TMD Splints: these low-profile mouthguards are worn at night to help prevent you from grinding and clenching your teeth at night. Since bruxism is a common cause of TMD, many patients report relief with just this simple treatment!
- Occlusal Therapy: for another common group of patients, the pain they experience is due to malocclusion, or an irregular bite. This is often due to muscles that aren’t operating properly and the use of occlusal therapy with splints and appliances can help your muscles relax during the night and eventually be retrained for permanent relief!
- Full-Mouth Rehabilitation: While still non-surgical, this procedure is a more advanced application of several restorative, cosmetic, and therapeutic procedures. This option is best for patients with severe TMD that doesn’t respond to other treatments. Contact our office for details!
- We also work with patients who have undergone treatment to ensure that they continue to be pain-free over time and can provide a variety of solutions for solving your problem, not just treating the symptoms!
Myth #3: TMD Pain Is For Life
You may worry, and you may have heard, that TMD pain is a permanent, life-long affliction that will leave you jumping from cure to cure in the search for something that really works. It can take time to correctly identify the source of your TMD, but at Fairhope Cosmetic Dentistry we work hard to make sure we don’t just treat your TMD pain, but cure it too!
We’ve treated a number of TMD patients who have gone on to live pain free, so we know first hand how successful and lasting treatment can be! Our solutions resolve your pain through the retraining of muscles and the adjustment of your bite to eliminate the aggravating condition, leaving you with a healthy and well-functioning jaw.
If you’ve been living in pain due to TMD symptoms, it’s time to find the problem and get permanent relief! Don’t spend one more day suffering and wondering what’s wrong – our Fairhope office can help! Call us today at (251) 210-7142 or make an appointment using our online form – you’ll be glad you did!