A temporomandibular disorder is a condition not a specific disease. TMD's can have many different signs and symptoms, from mild to severe. Some patients have symptoms but are still able to fully function in their everyday lives. TMD's appear to be more common in women. Specific signs and symptoms include:
-Pain in or around the ear
-Tender jaw muscles
-Clicking or popping noises in the jaw
-Difficulty opening or closing the mouth
-Pain when yawning or chewing
-Jaw joints that feel as if they're “locked,” “stuck” or “they go out”
Several conditions may be linked with TMD. This often makes it difficult to pinpoint the cause of the particular case. These conditions include:
-Jaw or head injuries
-Diseases that affect the muscles or joints such as arthritis
-Anxiety and/or stress
How Dr. Basil Can Help
To determine how best to treat your TMD, West Hartford dentist Dr. Elzbieta Basil would first check the joints and muscles for tenderness, clicking, popping or difficulty moving. Your complete medical history may be reviewed, so it is important to keep your records up to date in Dr. Basil's office. Dr. Basil may take x-rays of your teeth, jaw or TMJ and she can do so in her West Hartford office or her New Britain office. She may make a model of your teeth to see how your bite fits together.
For some patients the disorder is less severe than others. Sometimes they may disappear by themselves, or they may come and go. They may also worsen over time. TMD disorders are often managed rather than short. Dr. Basil may recommend treatment in a series of steps allowing for the simplest treatment before moving on to something more involved. Generally a "less is often best" approach to treating TMJ disorders is best.
For all such cases patients would be recommended to:
-Each softer foods avoiding foods that cause symptoms
-Minimize extreme jaw movements such as yawning, yelling or singing
-Avoid chewing gum
-Use heat or ice packs to relieve pain
-Practicing relaxation techniques to control jaw tension, such as meditation
If necessary, Dr. basil may recommend the following to relieve your symptoms:
-Exercises to strengthen jaw muscles
-Medicines to reduce pain or inflammation, or help you relax
A nightguard or bite plate to decrease clenching or grinding of teethIn some cases Dr. Basil may recommend fixing an uneven bite by adjusting or reshaping some teeth. Finally, orthodontic treatment may also be recommended.
About TMJ Problems
Do you have frequent headaches, earaches, tender jaw muscles or a dull, aching facial pain? Does your jaw lock or stay to one side when you open your mouth? These aches and pains may be related to the jaw joint, called the temporomandibular joint or “TMJ,” and the muscles that work to move the joint. When the source of these problems is this joint or its muscles, they are often referred to as “TMD” for temporomandibular disorders.