Our ability to eat and chew different types of food is dependent on a whole system of events that breaks down food into pieces
that we can swallow. It involves much more than just our teeth.One of the most important aspects of our chewing system is our jaw joint, more specifically the temporomandibular joint. For simplicity sake, let’s refer to this joint as the TM joint. When
people experience problems with their TM joint, the condition is known as temporomandibular dysfunction or TMD.
Here are some of the signs and symptoms of TMD:
- Clicking sounds from joint during opening and closing
- Pain during opening or closing or while eating
- Locking of jaw joint
- Grinding or clenching habits
- Limited opening of the mouth
- Pain in the shoulder and back
To determine whether you have TMD and what types of treatment would be appropriate for you, it is important that you see your dentist for a thorough examination of your jaw joint. Your dentist can also take various radiographs (x-rays) and examine your occlusion or bite, in order to help determine the cause of your TMD. Once a diagnosis of TMD has been established, treatment
Here are some treatment options for patients with TMD:
- Oral appliance therapy (oral orthotics)
- Bite adjustment or alteration
Because TMD can be such a debilitating condition that affects so many aspects of daily life especially eating and sleeping, it is important that you visit your dentist to determine if you have TMD and to find out what treatment options are appropriate for you.