Temporomandibular Disorder (TMD)
Millions of Americans suffer from chronic facial and neck pain as well as recurring headaches. In some cases, this pain is due to Temporomandibular Disorder, or TMD.
Your temporomandibular joints (TMJ) connect your lower jawbone to your skull. These joints get a lot of use throughout the day as you speak, chew, swallow, and yawn. Pain in and around these joints can be unpleasant and may even restrict movement.
Symptoms of TMD include:
- Pain in the jaw area
- Pain, ringing, or stuffiness in the ears
- Frequent headaches or neck aches
- Clicking or popping sound when the jaw moves
- Swelling on the sides of the face
- Muscle spasms in the jaw area
- A change in the alignment of top and bottom teeth
- Locked jaw or limited opening of the mouth
Should you notice any of these symptoms, let your doctor know. Your dentist can help indicate the presence of TMD and create an effective treatment just for you.
If you often wake up with jaw pain, earaches, or headaches, or if you find yourself clenching or grinding your teeth, you may have a common condition called “bruxism.” Many people do not even know that they grind their teeth, as it often occurs when one is sleeping. If not corrected, bruxism can lead to broken teeth, cracked teeth, or even tooth loss.
There is an easy, non-invasive treatment for bruxism: nightguards. Nightguards are an easy way to prevent the wear and damage that teeth-grinding causes over time. Custom-made by us with hard acrylic material to fit your teeth, a nightguard is inserted over your top or bottom arch and prevents contact with the opposing teeth. We can recommend which type of nightguard is best suited for you.
Botox relaxes target muscles to prevent them from contracting. Injections into the affected head and neck muscles blocks the nerve signals that cause muscle movements, essentially relaxing the muscles and reducing or eliminating facial pain.
Treatment for TMJ typically takes just a few minutes depending on the number of injections needed. Your specific diagnosis and the severity of your condition will dictate how much Botox you will require. The effects of treatment last for approximately 3 months.
With a series of treatments, Botox can retrain your muscles to relax and you will notice your symptoms resolve for longer periods of time. Many patients lose the habit which accompanies the repetitive grinding or clenching.
Dental professionals are highly trained in the entire anatomy of the head and neck as well as the oral cavity. We can administer your treatments with exceptional accuracy and precision.
Because Botox is a temporary treatment, for your convenience, these treatments can be scheduled to coincide with your routine dental hygiene appointment.
There are a few simple steps you can take at home or work to prevent TMD from becoming more severe, or to prevent it from occurring:
- Relax your face — remember the rule: "Lips together, teeth apart"
- Avoid grinding your teeth
- Avoid constant gum chewing
- Don't cradle the phone receiver between your head and shoulder — either use a headset or hold the receiver in your hand
- Chew food evenly on both sides of your mouth
- Do not sit with your chin rested on your hand
- Practice good posture — keep your head up, back straight, and shoulders squared