You might not know that some orthodontists treat more than teeth. One of the things that we treat is a particular condition that can cause a bewildering array of symptoms. Usually, the people with those particular issues don’t seek out a dental professional for treatment. Instead, the issues tend to come up during other dental care. At Orthodontic Alliances, the doctors have helped many people with “mystery” symptoms.
Weird Name, Weird Symptoms
When you think of the practice of dentistry as a whole, you probably think of teeth and gums. But the entire mouth and the underlying bone structure falls within the scope of dental practice. Once you consider that the jaw and its joints may be of concern to orthodontists, it begins to make sense that orthodontists might be the ones to address issues in and around those areas.
So, what do earaches, headaches, pain in the shoulders, muscle aches, and phantom toothaches all have in common? The answer is that they can all be caused by problems with the temporomandibular joint (TMJ).
The temporomandibular joint connects your lower jaw to your skull. Problems with this joint on one or both sides can result in symptoms that are usually addressed by a physician. But without knowing the source of the problem, most medical interventions do no more than try to ease the symptoms.
It’s fairly common for people with TMJ problems to visit specialist after specialist in search of relief. When they see an orthodontist who proposes a diagnosis and treatment for their problems, they’re often skeptical… until the symptoms go away.
Common Symptoms of Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMD)
Not all TMD symptoms fall under the “mystery” category. Some things that might indicate a problem with your TMJs are:
- Tenderness and/or swelling in the area around the joint
- Facial fatigue or tiredness
- Clicking or popping with jaw movement
- Your jaw locking open or locking closed
Of course, you can have some or all of those more obvious problems and the mystery symptoms as well. TMD doesn’t play favorites, and it can make your life miserable. Or even your spouse’s or your children’s lives miserable.
Even worse, symptoms on the more severe end of the scale can impact your functioning personally and professionally.
Causes, Diagnosis, And Treatment
Like many medical conditions, TMD can have a variety of contributing causes. Some of those include:
- Various types of arthritis (rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis, for example)
- Injury to the jaw
- Chronic grinding or clenching of the teeth
- Some connective tissue diseases
There’s not usually a “cure” for temporomandibular joint disorder, but there are effective interventions. One of the most effective treatments for many people suffering from TMJ issues is an oral appliance. By helping to realign the jaws, the oral appliance can help ease the pain your experience. When used consistently over time, the oral appliance may even correct your TMJ issues.
Unlike many orthodontic practices, Orthodontic Alliances has an on-site lab. In addition to creating a fully custom oral appliance specifically for you, we can usually deliver appliance to you faster than other practices. And when it comes to easing the symptoms of TMD, faster is definitely better.
If You Or A Loved One Is Hurting, Rely On Orthodontic Alliances
We have operated a TMJ-centered practice since the early 1980s. And for more than 20 years, Orthodontic Alliances has been a regional care center for TMJ disorders. Both doctors have extensive experience treating thousands of TMD patients. You can count on them to find the best solution to help you.
Don’t live with mystery pains, a jaw that locks, or clicking and popping in your jaw any longer. Schedule a consultation with Orthodontic Alliances at any of our Indiana locations. You can contact us using our convenient online form or by calling 219-809-6584.