Temporomandibular disorders (TMD) can be caused by a blow to the head when contact between upper and lower teeth is traumatic. It can also come from problems with the jaw joint or the surrounding facial muscles, which control jaw movement and chewing motion. TMD can also be caused by the dislocation of the soft cushion between the ball and socket of the jaw, or when there is the presence of osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis.
They can also be caused from long term grinding of teeth or misalignment of the jaw. Some patients report clicking or popping sounds in the jaw while chewing. Others complain of their jaw getting stuck in an open or closed position. Difficulty chewing along with tenderness and swelling in the face can also be attributed to TMD disorders. These are typically found in patients aged twenty to forty and tend to occur more frequently in women than in men.
TMJ is the temporomandibular joint or the jaw joint. It is the point where the lower jaw attaches to the temporal bone of the skull. This can be found directly in front of each ear. Muscles attach to the surrounding jaw joint allowing the jaw to smoothly move up and down and side to side. This allows patients to talk, chew and even yawn.
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What Causes TMD or TMJ Problems?
Believe it or not bad posture is one of the factors associated with TMD. Poor posture can strain the upper back and neck muscles which in turn can put pressure on neck muscles potentially causing stress on the jaw causing misalignment and abnormal jaw function. Those patients with increased stress levels causing them to grind their teeth have a higher instance of TMD than those patients who are stress free. Patients with misaligned teeth can also suffer from TMD. With the teeth not meeting in a correct bite motion, stress can be put on specific teeth creating disorders.
How Can TMD and TMJ Problems Be Fixed?
In many cases, TMD symptoms will go away on their own without any kind of professional intervention. However, for the more serious TMD cases which are typically brought on by head trauma, surgical procedures are necessary to alleviate the symptoms.
The nonsurgical options to address TMD include resting the TMJ joint, taking low dose pain relievers, adopting relaxation and stress management techniques, behavior changes to stop teeth clenching, physical therapy, an orthopedic appliance such as a mouthguard to reduce teeth grinding, and posture training.
When surgery is warranted, a small thin tube is inserted into the joint space allowing small surgical instruments to be used to complete the procedure. This is considered arthroscopic surgery and can be very effective in treating TMJ disorders.
Let our office team at O'Sullivan, DeLuca & Ressel Dental Care evaluate your TMD or TMJ disorders and schedule an appointment. Call us at (352) 666-9898 to schedule an appointment or visit during normal office hours so we can help you and create a treatment plan best suited for you.