At Miami Valley Smiles, our care goes far beyond your teeth and gums. Most of us tend to clench and grind our teeth sometimes, especially when we’re stressed. But for many, chronic teeth grinding and clenching can be related to a problem with your jaw known as TMJ or TMD. Did you know your Mason dentist can help prevent jaw pain, as well as chronic headaches and migraines? We want you to live a healthy, pain-free life, and we would love to help you stop your chronic pain at the source with TMJ/TMD treatment.
TMJ stands for the temporomandibular joint, or the jaw joint. TMD stands for temporomandibular joint dysfunction and is a term used to describe any pain or problem with the jaw joint. To make things confusing, these two terms are often used interchangeably and are sometimes even called TMJD. For clarity, we’ll use TMJ to describe the joint itself, and TMD to describe the dysfunction.
It’s important to note that 90% of TMD sufferers are women in their childbearing years, which makes sense when we think about stress. Aside from stress, there are other factors that help explain this gender discrepancy. Women taking hormonal birth control tend to report higher instances of TMD, which may be due to hormone receptors in the jaw found in females that are not found in males. There may also be differences in the physical joint structure of female jaws versus male jaws. Women also tend to have more vitamin deficiencies that contribute to joint problems like arthritis and are more likely to report symptoms and seek treatment.
TMD manifests in the form of chronic pain and tension in the jaw that radiates into face, head, neck, and shoulders. If you clench and grind your teeth frequently or suffer from chronic headaches and migraines, TMD might be the source of your pain. TMD can also cause the jaw to be stiff which can make it difficult to open and close your mouth, and you may experience popping, locking, or clicking or the jaw when you speak, eat, or yawn.
If any or all of the above sounds familiar to you, you may be one of millions of Americans suffering from TMD. If you’re tired of taking endless painkillers and still living in pain, we would love to help you treat your pain at the source. We don’t just treat your symptoms, we actually prevent the pain from happening in the first place. Imagine being able to prevent a migraine before it even starts.
In order to provide the optimum treatment for you, we need to understand what’s causing your dysfunction. Depending on the cause and the severity of your case, we can provide a number of different treatment options to correct the problem, minimize the damage, and put an end to your chronic pain.
The first step to recovery is recognizing the problem. Pay attention to when you get stressed and start clenching and grinding and make a conscious effort to stop. You can do some gentle stretching and massage techniques to help with the tension, and use a cold compress if necessary to reduce pain and swelling. Avoid chewing gum or other habits that may inflame the jaw.
One of the biggest factors that can cause and exacerbate TMD symptoms is teeth grinding and clenching. A custom mouthguard or night guard can work wonders to minimize nightly tension caused by clenching and grinding and protect your teeth from being worn down over time. A simple mouthguard could be all it takes to put an end to your chronic pain.
If your TMD is caused by misalignment of your teeth or problems with your bite, we may be able to correct the problem by adjusting your teeth. If your bite is crooked or otherwise problematic, we may be able to correct it by aligning your teeth with Invisalign. If you have excessive bite forces on your teeth, we may be able to correct the problem with restorative dentistry by changing the shape of the teeth in the back and eliminating the pressure points.
If your TMD is severe or caused by a traumatic injury or a problem with the joint itself, you may require oral surgery to correct the joint. Dr. Lance is highly skilled in many types of oral surgery and we have sedation dentistry available to make your treatment as comfortable and relaxed as possible. Surgery is always a last resort, but if it could eliminate your pain, it might change your life.
If you have any questions about TMJ/TMD or would like to schedule an appointment with your Mason dentist, Dr. Lance at Miami Valley Smiles, give us a call today at (513) 445-4064 or request an appointment online below! We look forward to smiling with you.
We’d love to show you why our care is something to smile about.