Do you suffer from frequent headaches, earaches, neck and shoulder pain that can’t be easily explained? Do these headaches seem to “radiate” from your temples?
These and other symptoms can be indicators of a common but serious problem known as TMD (temporomandibular joint disorder). It is sometimes referred to as TMJ, but this only refers to the joint itself, not the disorder.
Orthodontics Alliances (in northwest IN) has the TMD solutions you need to end the pain and misery this disorder causes!
How Many People Suffer With TMD?
It’s estimated that around 3 million new TMD cases are diagnosed each year in the US. That makes it one of the most common medical complaints overall, and it is serious, leading to an observable reduction in the quality of life for those who suffer from it.
What is TMD?
TMD is a problem with the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). This joint is what allows you to move your mouth: up and down, and side to side. It makes speaking and effective chewing possible, and it is located in front of your ear (connecting to the temporal bones, which protect your brain and serve as an important “support” for the shape and appearance of your face). It comes into play whenever you “open wide”, such as when you talk, laugh, or yawn.
The TMJ is a ball-and-socket joint, and it contains a disc (similar to ones that are in your spinal column) of cartilage that protects the joint from impacts and shocks, and from rubbing together incorrectly.
It is believed that when this disc slips, it can cause TMD, but nailing down an exact cause for TMD has proved difficult.
TMD might be caused by one, or possibly more, of the following:
- Arthritis (chronic inflammation of your joints)
- Gum disease (periodontal disease, which weakens your jawbone and reduces its bone density)
- Bruxism or “Nocturnal Teeth Grinding”
Stress in general is also considered a contributor, and it is recommended that along with treatment, you should also attempt to better manage your stress.
What Are the Symptoms of TMD?
Properly diagnosing TMD is no small feat, and can only be done by a professional. However, you can keep an eye out for certain symptoms that could indicate a problem with TMD.
- Frequent headaches (radiating from the temples), and/or frequent pain in the jaws, face, neck, upper shoulders, earaches, or frequent pain in the area around your ear
- Frequent toothaches
- Fatigue or “tired feeling” in your jaw or face
- “Opening wide” is more difficult; you may also experience a “lock-up” of the jaws (stuck, and you can’t close or open your mouth)
- Facial Swelling
- Clicking or popping sounds that can be heard when you move your jaws
- Ringing in the ears (Tinnitus)
- Tingling in your fingers and other extremities
- Excess wear in teeth is observable (TMD can contribute to the destruction of enamel if undetected long enough)
What Can My Orthodontist Do?
Your orthodontist at Orthodontic Alliances can reliably diagnose your problem, and provide you with a treatment that meets your specific needs. Options may include orthodontic appliances, or a mouthguard; your orthodontist will need to give you an examination before any treatment is determined.
Your orthodontist may also be able to help you manage your symptoms through pain medication (such as prescription NSAIDs such as ibuprofen) and behavioral modification; essentially training you how to properly use your jaws to reduce or avoid pain and to get your jaws eventually in proper alignment.
I Can’t Stand These Headaches!
Then don’t delay! Call Orthodontics Alliances today! We have several locations for your convenience throughout the area, and we offer a number of other orthodontic solutions to meet the dental health needs of your entire family!