Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD) is a condition affecting 5-15% of Americans. It is caused by a misalignment of the joint connecting your jaw to your skull.
TMD (Also known as TMJ) symptoms can range in severity from mild to very severe. In the worst cases, TMD patients experience significant pain. Other symptoms include:
- Jaw pain
- Ear pain
- Difficulty chewing
- Facial pain
- Clicking and locking of the jaw
- Uneven bite
- Shoulder and neck pain
- Teeth grinding
In mild TMD cases, symptoms may go away without any treatment. However, most TMD patients will require some form of treatment to alleviate symptoms. Most treatment methods are relatively non-invasive.
Medications used to treat TMD include:
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) – over-the-counter pain medication such as ibuprofen or aspirin
- Tricyclic antidepressants
- Muscle relaxants
- Corticosteroid drugs
- Botulism toxin (BOTOX™)
These medications can provide some relief for your TMD symptoms, but often they will need to be combined with other treatment methods aimed at correcting the underlying cause of your TMD.
There are several therapies that are commonly prescribed to help treat TMD symptoms. The most common include:
- Custom-made mouth guards
- Cognitive behavioral therapy
- Corrective dental treatments such as balancing the biting surfaces of your teeth, replacing missing teeth, or replacing existing fillings or crowns
- Conventional braces
- Invisible braces
In some extreme cases, surgery will be necessary. But this should only be considered a last resort. Very few TMD patients actually undergo surgery to correct the problem.
Further Reading on TMD / TMJ
Dr. Robert Chin and Dr. Jessica Pharar are both neuromuscular dentistry specialists and have been treating patients with TMD issues for over 20 years.They are one of the few dental offices that have the advanced training and technology to treat TMJ. They utilize computerized jaw tracking and EMG equipment to precisely treat patients that suffer from TMJ related symptoms. This equipment enables them to determine optimal jaw position and help to improve their bite.
If you have been experiencing pain and discomfort from TMD symptoms, please contact the neuromuscular dentistry specialists at Drs. Chin & Pharar today to schedule an appointment. We service patients in the Las Vegas, Summerlin, and Henderson, Nevada areas.