What Is The Difference Between TMJ and TMD? | Vita Dental
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Dental TMJ-TMD – Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

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Dental TMJ-TMD by Dentist in Spring Texas

TMJ or the temporomandibular joints are the joints that connect your jaw to the temporal bones of your skull and include muscles and ligaments as well as the jaw bone. This means that they are the joints that make it possible for you to open and close your mouth, as the joints are located on each side of your head. You can already begin to see the importance of these joints when it comes to actions such as speaking, yawning, swallowing and chewing. The TMJ also controls the lower jaw, allowing it to move forward, backward and from side to side.

There are obviously different types of joints and the TMJ is a ball-and-socket joint with a disc in between the ball and the socket that provides cushioning while allowing the joint to go through its full repertoire of movements from open opening and closing to rotating and gliding.

It’s a complex system incorporating muscles, ligaments, bones and discs, which all have to be in tip-top shape for the system to function seamlessly. If, however, you have issues with the parts of this system, the muscles and the jaw, then temporomandibular joint disorder, TMD, occurs. TMJ is the joint while TMD is the disorder, although the two terms are usually wrongly used interchangeably.

Having highlighted a bit what TMJ consists of, this article will now look to highlight what TMD is about, including treatments available.

The very first thing we are going to highlight as far as TMD is concerned is on the causes and symptoms. As far as causes of TMD go, it may not be possible to pinpoint exact causes of TMD, although the pain and issues may be as a result of a number of problems affecting the muscles and the jaw itself. These include injury, which may be to the jaw, joint or muscles of the head and neck which may be as a result of trauma or whiplash. Other possible causes include arthritis, stress as it usually has an effect on your facial and jaw muscles, grinding or clenching of your teeth due to conditions such as bruxism among others.

As far as symptoms of TMD go, the most common one is severe pain and discomfort which may affect one or both sides of your face. The pain and tenderness may be in your face, neck, shoulders, jaw joint or around the ear when you move your jaw, say when eating, yawning, speaking among other movements. Other symptoms include locking of the joint, clicking, popping or grating sounds in the jaw when you open or close your mouth as well as feeling as if your face is tired among others. sometimes you may also experience ringing in the ears, hearing problems, toothaches, headaches among others.

The next thing we are going to look at is how TMD is diagnosed once you note its symptoms and head over to your dentist’s office, with the best vita dental spring being the best in Spring Texas. When you go to the dentist for diagnosis, the first thing your dentist will do is ask about your symptoms, go through them and then carry out a physical examination of your jaw.

This includes listening and feeling at your jaw when you open and close your mouth, pressing in the jaw area to pinpoint the sites of pain or discomfort as well as observing the range of motion as far as your jaw is concerned.

If after the physical exam the dentist suspects that you may have a problem, they will then conduct digital dental x-rays, as well CT and MRI scans to closely examine the bones, disk and surrounding soft tissue of your joint. TMJ arthroscopy is sometimes utilized in the diagnosis of TMJ. Depending on the complexity of your TMD, you may be referred to an oral and maxillofacial surgeon for specialized treatment.

As far as treatment is concerned, the dentist will usually only come into play if your symptoms persist, as they usually go away in time without needing treatment. Some of the treatment options the dentist may recommend include medications such as pain-relieving meds for the pain, as well as anti-inflammatory meds for the swelling and tenderness. Other meds the dentist may prescribe are muscle relaxants and tricyclic antidepressants. Other than medications, the dentist may also prescribe a night guard or splint to lessen the effects of grinding of teeth, especially those with bruxism.

A splint is used all the time while the night guard is only put on at night when sleeping. If the TMD is a result of dental issues, the dentist may fix them in order to correct it.

This includes replace missing teeth as well as braces to fix misaligned teeth and bite issues. Other treatment options that are there on the table include trigger-point injections, radio wave therapy among others and your doctor will explain each option available to you and help you choose the right one for you. If these non-surgical treatments don’t work, surgery is another option to help treat TMD. Surgery is usually the last resort since once it is done, it can’t be undone.

There are 3 types of surgery available as far as TMD is concerned; arthrocentesis, which is minor and can be done by the dentist in their office, arthroscopy, which is done by an arthroscope as well as open-joint surgery which is a much more complex surgery with risks such as nerve injury and scarring and also takes longer to heal.

For more information on TMJ, TMD and the treatment options available, head over to the excellent dentist in spring Tx vita dental spring, which is the best option out there in Spring Texas.