TMJ/TMD


Your mouth has many working parts that enable it to perform a wide variety of essential tasks. The temporomandibular joints, or TMJ, which are located on both sides of the face where your lower jaw meets your skull, are responsible for the movement of your mouth. These joints work in conjunction with the connected bones, muscles, and ligaments to bite, chew, open your mouth, and more. Healthy joints do not cause any discomfort. In fact, you may not even notice them. However, if they become irritated, they can become inflamed and cause you severe pain that can interfere with your daily life. Platte Valley Dental Care can help with TMJ treatment.

What Is TMD?

TMD, or temporomandibular joint disorder, is a condition that encompasses several different issues that affect your TMJ and the surrounding areas. TMD occurs when the joints become irritated and inflamed, causing pain. For many, TMD can be so severe that it can interfere with daily life, making actions like chewing, speaking, or even simply opening your mouth, excruciating.

How Do I Know I Have TMD?

Pain in the TMJ and the jaw is a big indication that there is something wrong. However, there are several other signs that can point toward TMD as well. Many of these symptoms do not occur right away. Instead, they start small and worsen over time. Symptoms of TMD include:
•  Facial pain.
•  Swelling of the face and mouth near the TMJ.
•  Difficulty performing tasks like eating, speaking, or even just opening your mouth.
•  Hearing or feeling clicking, popping or grinding in the joints.
•  Lockjaw. TMD can cause your jaw to temporarily lock open or closed, and you may not be able to move it at all until the joints loosen up.
•  Chronic headaches and earaches.
•  Neck and back pain.

What Causes TMD?

TMD is a condition that encompasses several different issues that affect the TMJ and surrounding areas. Common causes of TMD include:
•  Facial trauma, such as a fall, a car accident, or a sports injury.
•  Jaw dislocation. Even temporary dislocation from whiplash can cause microtears in the TMJ.
•  Bruxism, or grinding and clenching. Bruxism itself has many causes, including poor tooth alignment and stress.
•  Arthritis. Both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis can lead to TMD. Osteoarthritis is the degradation of cartilage in the joints. Rheumatoid arthritis causes joint inflammation.

Treating TMD

The treatment you receive for your TMD depends upon what is causing the condition in the first place. We can determine the cause of your TMD with a thorough oral exam and then recommend the best treatments based on your diagnosis:
•  Homecare. Mild cases of TMD can often be treated with over-the-counter pain relievers, prescription pain relievers, or stress relief tactics.
•  Nightguards. A night guard is a common treatment for bruxism that cushions against the impact of grinding and clenching, alleviating your pain.
•  Botox. Botox, while a common cosmetic treatment, can also be used to treat bruxism. The injections weaken the muscles, preventing grinding and clenching.
•  Orthodontics, to realign crooked teeth and jaws.
•  Oral surgery. If your TMD is severe, or no other treatments have been effective, surgery may be recommended. There are a few different types of surgery that may be used depending on your situation.

If your TMJ are causing you significant pain and discomfort, getting treatment is essential. For more information, and to schedule your consultation, call Platte Valley Dental Care today at (816) 219-3133.

Office Hours
Monday: 9 AM to 5 PM
Tuesday: 8 AM to 5 PM
Wednesday: 8 AM to 6 PM
Thursday: 8 AM to 5 PM
Friday: 8 AM to 2 PM
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