Temporomandibular Joint Disorder

Temporomandibular Joint Disorder

Millions of people each year suffer from jaw and mouth pain during basic jaw movements such as chewing, speaking, and smiling. If you experience daily pain and headaches that physicians have failed to adequately diagnose and treat, it is possible that you are suffering from Temporomandibular Joint Disorder.

Also known as TMD or TMJ, Temporomandibular Joint Disorder occurs when the temporomandibular joint, a ball-and-socket joint that connects the skull and lower jaw, has become displaced. It affects every aspect of jaw movement and if its functionality is compromised, so is your health and quality of life.

A special Thank You to Dr. Curtis Westersund who was kind enough to allow us to share his video with you.

Symptoms of Temporomandibular Joint Disorder

Since the symptoms of temporomandibular joint disorder are elusive, it can be misdiagnosed as a migraine headache. The key in properly diagnosing TMD is to survey common symptoms and bring your concerns to a dental physician, such as Dr. Christine Fialka-Eshenko . Since most people associate TMD symptoms with other disorders rather than a misaligned jaw, it is rare that it is diagnosed and treated early. Common symptoms of Temporomandibular Joint Disorder include:

  • Bell’s palsy
  • Cervical pain
  • Clenching/bruxing
  • Difficulty chewing
  • Dysphagia (difficulty swallowing)
  • Ear congestion
  • Facial pain (nonspecific)
  • Headaches
  • Limited opening
  • Loose teeth
  • Nervousness/insomnia
  • Paresthesia of fingertips (tingling)
  • Postural problems
  • Tender sensitive teeth (percussion)
  • Thermal sensitivity (hot and cold)
  • Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
  • TMJ pain
  • TMJ noise
  • Trigeminal neuralgia
  • Vertigo (dizziness)

Causes of Temporomandibular Joint Disorder

If you suffer from a handful of TMD symptoms, it is prudent to think about your past to determine if you have been involved in situations where the temporomandibular joint could easily have been displaced. These include:

  • Poor dental work/long dental appointments
  • Head trauma
  • Whiplash
  • Concussion

While the above can displace the temporomandibular joint, genetics and unadvisable daily habits, such as poor posture, jaw clenching, teeth grinding, and constant gum chewing can influence displacement.

Diagnosing Temporomandibular Joint Disorder

Diagnosing TMD takes both a patient’s initiative to bring their jaw pain to a dentist as opposed to a traditional medical doctor and the work of a skilled dentist with an understanding of neuromuscular dentistry principles, which focus on the alignment of your jaw. If we suspect that you have a misaligned temporomandibular joint, we will first take a molding of your bite and radiograph. We will evaluate how your jaw and bite interact with each other and determine if your pain is the result of a displaced temporomandibular joint.

Treating Temporomandibular Joint Disorder

We treat TMD through prescribed dental appliances, such as a mouth guard or a splint. This will minimize the destruction of jaw clenching and grinding. Additional appliances such as a neuromuscular orthotic may be prescribed to improve your bite and adjust the lower jaw’s alignment. At home remedies, such as applying hot and cold packs, chewing soft foods, and limiting jaw movement are recommended to reduce pain. If you believe you might be suffering from Temporomandibular Joint Disorder and live in the Edmonton, Alberta area, please contact the office of Edmonton dentist Dr. Christine Fialka-Eshenko. We will schedule a consultation where your jaw movement and alignment will be examined and determine the root cause of your jaw pain.

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