Rockville Dental Arts
TMJ / TMD
If you open and close your mouth, you will notice that your lower jaw works like a hinge. In fact, when you place your hand on the side of your face, you will feel that hinge working. It’s located just in front of your ear, and its technical name is the temporomandibular joint. This joint is responsible for allowing you to move your jaw up and down as well as side to side so that you can chew foods, talk, yawn, chew gum, etc. There are problems that can arise with this hinge, and they are referred to as temporomandibular disorders or TMD.
Some people refer to it as TMJ, but that is the name of the jaw, not the condition itself. There are a number of different reasons why patients in the Rockville area may develop TMD, including:
- Grinding the teeth or clinching the jaw puts pressure on this joint and that can lead to damage.
- The disc located between the ball and socket of the joint (which works as a cushion) could move and lead to disorders.
- Some people may develop arthritis in the joint.
- Finally, stress, which causes tightened facial and jaw muscles, can lead to issues as well.
People who develop TMD will experience temporary or long-lasting pain that can be very severe. It could affect only one side or both sides of the jaw. Other symptoms include:
- Tenderness in the face, neck, and shoulders.
- Inability to open the mouth wide.
- The jaw getting stuck or locked in one position.
- Experiencing clicking or grating sounds when opening and closing the jaw.
- Problems with chewing and bites that are uncomfortable and painful.
- Swelling in the face.
Some people even experience earaches and dizziness due to TMD. As you can see, this is not something you should have to continue living with. When you talk to a dentist at Rockville Dental Arts, they can offer you solutions. When you visit us, our dentist will likely discuss something called TMJ splints as a solution for your disorder.
Splint therapy involves using a plastic plate that fits in the mouth. You may have heard this kind of splint referred to as an orthotic, a mouth guard, or a mouthpiece. The purpose of this splint is to either stabilize the jaw, realign it, or prevent grinding of the teeth. Depending on why you have developed TMD, your dentist will determine the best splint for you.
In some cases, wearing the splint for just a short period of time can be enough to resolve the TMD too. However, this is something you will need to discuss with your dentist as well.
Contact Rockville Dental Arts
If you have any of the symptoms of TMD or you think you may have one of the disorders, then it’s time to contact Rockville Dental Arts 301-424-2030 and schedule an appointment. You may also fill out our contact form and we will be glad to arrange time to discuss your condition in our Rockville office and determine if you need treatment. Then, our dentist will go over dental splints and how they can help you. Don’t continue living in pain. Instead, contact us today.