TMD Treatment at Harris Dental
The temporomandibular joints (TMJ) connect the jawbone to the rest of the skull. These joints are wrapped in muscle and can be affected by teeth alignment or teeth clenching and grinding. At Harris Dental, our goal is to help you find relief from uncomfortable temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMD) symptoms while seeking to identify the root cause of TMJ dysfunction. After a comprehensive evaluation, Dr. Harris may recommend one or more of the following treatment options:
- Oral appliance therapy. TMD symptoms may be caused or exacerbated by bruxism (grinding and clenching teeth), especially while you sleep. By preventing grinding and clenching, wearing a simple, customized oral appliance overnight can help sooth symptoms by minimizing jaw muscle and joint strain.
- Botox. Botox treatments may help you find relief from TMD symptoms by temporarily inhibiting the hyperactive muscle contractions that are triggering jaw tension, stress, and pain.
- Lifestyle changes. As stress can contribute to muscle tension, teeth grinding, or other unhealthy oral habits (like chewing pens), prioritizing self-care and stress management may help you improve your quality of life while keeping TMD symptoms—and other health issues—at bay.
What do TMJ and TMD mean?
If you suffer from chronic headaches or pain in your face, jaw, head, neck, or shoulders, issues with your jaw joints (known as the temporomandibular joints, or TMJs) may be to blame.
In addition to connecting your lower jaw (mandible) to your skull (at the temporal bone), your right and left TMJ joints work together to give your jaw the mobility it needs to open your mouth for chewing, swallowing, speaking, laughing, and yawning. Moved by your jaw muscles, the TMJs open and close an estimated 2,000 times a day—making them two of the most frequently used joints in your whole body!
While you probably don’t give your hard-working jaws a second thought when they’re pain-free and working properly, issues with your one or both of your TMJs are hard to ignore. Referred to as TMD (temporomandibular joint dysfunction) but better known as TMJ, the symptoms can interrupt your daily activities and make it difficult to be your best self every day.
Potential Symptoms of Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction (TMD)
- Jaw pain. TMD often causes pain in one or both jaw joints or in the jaw muscles, which may be amplified when chewing.
- Limited jaw mobility. TMD can limit your jaw’s range of motion and function. In severe cases, TMD can cause the jaws to get stuck in the open or closed position (known as jaw locking).
- Sounds. TMD can cause clicking, popping, or grating sounds when chewing or moving the jaw to open or close the mouth, which may or may not cause pain.
- Indirect symptoms. TMD can also cause symptoms that don’t seem related to jaw issues, such as toothaches, headaches, eye or facial pain, dizziness, neck and upper shoulder pain, earaches, hearing problems, or tinnitus (ringing in the ears).
What causes TMJ dysfunction or TMD?
With the ability to rotate and move forward, backward, and side-to-side, the TMJ is considered one of the most complex joints in the body. As such, issues with the TMJ, or TMD, aren’t always easy to pinpoint, and could be caused by one or more of the following conditions:
- A misaligned or “bad” bite (malocclusion)
- Injury or trauma to your jaw, face, head, or neck
- Neuromuscular (nerve and muscle) dysfunction
- Muscle tension
- Stress, anxiety, or depression
- Certain oral habits, such as biting your lips or the insides of your checks, chewing on objects while stressed, or grinding your teeth (bruxism).
From smoothing fine lines and wrinkles to alleviating symptoms of TMD, Botox can help boost your self-confidence and even improve your quality of living.
I have always found Dr. Harris & his staff to be very courteous, prompt, concerned about my care & the services offered. They have always provided me with options to address my dental care, while balancing it with other life needs. I would highly recommend their services.