If you are experiencing jaw soreness, headaches, swelling, popping or clicking when you open or close your mouth, or difficulty chewing, you may need treatment for TMJ. Dr. Lalonde understands the challenges of dealing with TMJ and offers a variety of solutions.
Formerly known as TMJ (the actual name of the joint itself), what we now call temporomandibular disorders (TMD), can be incredibly painful and can limit your daily activities. The temporomandibular joint is the area where your jaw rotates against your skull. Facial pain in this area or in any area around your facial muscles or skull is referred to as TMD and can come with a wide array of symptoms or signs.
What are the Common Symptoms of TMD
People who suffer from TMD often have pain when they move their jaw and can also have migraine headaches, tension headaches, neck aches, ear aches, and facial pain. Sometimes clicking, popping, and grinding noises can occur when eating and/or talking. Other people experience restricted mobility when they try to open and close their mouths.
How is TMD diagnosed?
Because of the wide array of symptoms it produces, TMD may be very hard to diagnose. It is extremely important to find a very well trained and experienced dentist. An examination for this condition will consist of a very thorough head and neck exam including palpation of the muscles around face and neck, a detailed medical history, X-rays, and in some cases cat scans or an MRI. Frequently accurate models and records of your bite are mounted on a jaw simulator (or articulator) to evaluate your jaw relationships. If you suspect that you are suffering from TMD, we will take note of your symptoms and start with a physical examination and history of your pain profile.
How is TMD treated?
Because TMD is considered multifactorial there may be several treatment options and some lifestyle changes suggested to aid in your recovery. Frequent lifestyle change suggestions are decreasing caffeine intake, stopping gum chewing or nail biting, or eating a soft diet for a period of time. Sleep disturbances such as sleep apnea are often a direct contributor to TMD, as they often cause clenching or grinding. Therefore, we frequently request a sleep study to evaluate that possibility. Bio-feedback, learning how to relax in general, and learning how to break a subconscious clenching or grinding while awake are very helpful. Treatment options often include a bite splint ( a meticulously adjusted mouthpiece) and a bite adjustment and may also include muscle relaxers, steroids, dental restoration of a broken down mouth, physical therapy, chiropractic, trigger point injections, arthrocentesis, and acupuncture. Joint surgery is only recommended after all other modalities have been explored.
Dr Lalonde has been diagnosing and treating complex TMD issues for over 38 years and has personally trained with several nationally recognized experts in the field such as Dr Parker Mahan, Dr John Regenos, Dr Peter Dawson, Dr Hudson Heidorf, Dr William McHorris, and Dr James Metz to name a few.
If you are suffering from pain that you believe is related to TMD, please give our office a call. Together we can assess pain management and treatment options to help you greatly improve your quality of life.