Identifying Temporomandibular Disorders (TMD)
Do you have inexplicably sore jaw muscles? Or do you sometimes have a hard time opening your mouth all the way? Neck pain? Headaches from an unknown cause? How about a clicking or popping sound in your jaw? If you said “yes” to some or any of these, it’s possible that you may have some form of temporomandibular disorder (temp-oro-man-dibular).
Thankfully, we are no strangers to helping patients deal with TMD. We have a whole page of our website dedicated to the topic! While there are a variety of ways to treat various forms of TMD or Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) issues, what may be more immediately helpful is for patients to identify if they are experiencing a TMD.
You may be able to pinpoint the exact moment your TMJ problems began. This information will be very useful for your dentist. However, if you aren’t convinced that treating your possible TMD is beneficial, keep reading.
There is no one specific reason why some people experience a TMD and others do not. In fact, as we state on our website, “The aetiology of these disorders is not fully understood yet, however, habitual clenching and grinding of the teeth, trauma to the jaw, whiplash from automobile accidents, and sleep apnea can generally aggravate the problem.”
Some of those events may be easy to control if you realize you’re doing it. Some of them are out of your control which may progress the issue beyond mere jaw pain.
In an article published by the Canadian Dental Association, one doctor explains the effects of TMD pain in patients like this:
“They have a biological problem […] that may have psychological antecedents as well as behavioural consequences. This situation exists in a social framework that includes interpersonal relationships […] which almost always produces major negative experiences for the patients as well as for their immediate families.” — Dr. Gary Klasser, The Changing Field of Temporomandibular Disorders: What Dentists Need to Know, pg. 51
Basically, Dr. Klasser is suggesting that regardless of the specific origin of the TMD, it creates a network of interconnected problems for the patient. The biological affects the psychological which affects the social. Anyone who suffers from a TMD may be acutely aware of the self-conscious feeling it can imprint which affects how you interact with others in different social settings.
If left untreated, any health issue can potentially become much more significant than when it first began.
What Can Treatment Accomplish?
Well, keeping Dr. Klasser’s comments in mind, effective treatment of your TMJ issue may have a wide variety of positive outcomes. AT North Central Dental, we advocate the following treatment paths:
Behavioural modification (like changing certain aspects of your diet)
Oral appliance (like a night guard)
Acupuncture and Laser Acupuncture
You can find more information on those treatments on our website on our TMJ page.
If you believe you’ve been experiencing some form of Temporomandibular Disorders, we may be able to help. Please contact our office today to schedule an appointment with one of our Dentists.
We look forward to helping you overcome your TMJ pain or discomfort!