What is TMJ/TMD? – TMJ stands for temporomandibular joint and TMD stands for temporomandibular disorders (which represents the different conditions related to the TMJ.) TMD sounds fancy, but it is actually a very common issue and affects as much as 15% of the American population. Many people mistakenly believe that TMD is caused by clenching or grinding teeth, but it is more commonly caused by arthritis, over/under bites, dislocated jaw, or injury. Usually clenching or grinding just worsens the TMD that already exists.
Some people don’t realize that frequent toothaches, headaches, neck-aches, or even earaches could potentially be caused by TMD. If you have any unexplained aches, dizziness, ringing in the ears, or even shoulder pain, it is a good idea to make an appointment with your dentist to see if TMD is the culprit. Once you’re diagnosed, your dentist can help find the right treatment for you. Dr. Lorraine Burio of Candlewood Dental Care uses digital diagnostic technologies that can quickly screen you for potential TMD so that you can immediately start treatment before the pain gets any worse.
What are some treatment options?
- Massage the facial joints to help temporarily relieve the pain.
- If your TMD is caused by misalignment in your teeth, your dentist can fix it using orthodontic treatments.
- Meditate before sleeping to help reduce stress levels that may be causing you to grind or clench your teeth at night.
- If meditating doesn’t help, your dentist can prescribe a night guard to ease the stress on your jaw and teeth.
- Eat softer foods that don’t require as much difficult chewing and avoid hard or crunchy food like apples, raw carrots, or pretzels.
- Dental procedures such as replacing missing teeth, implementing crowns, bridges, or braces may be necessary to fix more severe TMD.
- TENS (Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulations) Therapy – relaxes the jaw and affected facial muscles using low-level electrical currents.
- Trigger-point Injections – Anesthesia or pain medication can be injected directly into the facial muscles that are aching or sore.
- Surgery is reserved for worst-case scenarios as it can’t be reversed and it might be difficult to determine if it will relieve the pain before the surgery is done.
If you have any questions call us at 203-746-1200 or make an appointment here. Our office is located in New Fairfield, CT and we have proudly served the Danbury area for over twenty-five years.