If you experience jaw pain or headaches, you may be suffering from a TMJ problem. TMJ refers to the temporomandibular joints, although the acronym is also used by many to refer to temporomandibular disorders (properly referred to as TMD). Both terms are acceptable when referring to diseases that affect jaw joints and the muscles that control the jaw’s movement. Neuromuscular dentistry is used to relieve TMJ/ TMD in our practice.
Some Symptoms of TMJ Disorders
Many patients suffering from TMJ problems are not even aware that the discomfort and pain they are experiencing is related to TMJ. At Smile Solutions Dental Centre we have comprised a list of common TMJ symptoms.
Some of the symptoms or signs of TMJ may not seem apparent, but patients with a TMJ disorder may suffer from any of the following:
- Difficulty swallowing
- Clenching or grinding of teeth/jaw
- Pain in neck, shoulder, and back
- Clicking or popping of jaw joints
- Reduced ability to open or close mouth
- Facial pain
- Pain and sensitivity in teeth
- Earache: ringing in the ears or ear pressure
- Crowded teeth
- Biting or chewing difficulty
- Worn, chipped, or cracked teeth or fillings
- Numbness in arms and fingers
How are these disorders treated?
TMD disorders can have many different causes, including breathing or airway problems, development problems, and injury. The approach that we may recommend for treatment for any given person depends on the root cause, the specific symptoms they experience, and the state of the teeth and the rest of their body. Sometimes relieving TMD symptoms can be as simple as making minor adjustments to the teeth. Other times fabrication of a special kind of mouthguard may be a good solution. Sometimes there is a problem with the bite that requires a significant amount of dentistry to correct. Still other times, orthodontic treatment may be a good option. Treatment of these disorders requires a great deal of care and patience, but the rewards can be immense.
As your bite changes, it becomes increasingly difficult to chew your food, possibly damaging your jaw-joint, the TMJ. It’s much harder to clean teeth that have shifted. Harmful plaque and tartar collect in these new hard-to-reach places, causing cavities and the permanent bone loss that comes with gum disease.
A bridge is another way to solve the missing-tooth problem. But two advantages of an implant over a bridge are that the teeth next to the space aren’t affected with an implant as they are in the preparation for a bridge. Also, the implant helps stop the ongoing bone loss that occurs once a tooth has been lost. A missing tooth really changes a person’s smile, but a dental implant can replace the missing tooth and greatly improve your smile!