What is TMD?
Your jaw joint, or temporomandibular joint (TMJ), connects your jawbone to your skull. This joint acts like a sliding hinge and is located on both sides of your skull. If you experience pain in this joint or frequently hear popping or clicking sounds when you open your mouth wide, you may have what is known as TMD or a temporomandibular disorder.
Symptoms of TMD include:
- Pain or tenderness in your jaw and jaw muscles.
- Pain in or around your ear.
- Facial pain.
- Difficulty or pain while chewing.
- Recurring headaches.
- Clicking and popping sounds.
- Clenching and grinding at night.
Risk Factors of TMD
While the causes of TMD are not necessarily known, there are risk factors that could increase your chances of experiencing it. These include:
- Jaw injury.
- Chronic clenching and grinding of the teeth.
- Connective tissue disease.
- Disk erosion or misalignment.
Treatment Options for TMD
Although the cause may be unknown, there are various treatment options for TMD. While some can be done in the comfort of your own home, such as taking pain relievers, muscle relaxers, or applying heat and ice, other options require the expertise of a medical professional.
If you experience malocclusion or bite misalignment, braces are an effective option. Not only do braces align your teeth, but they also correct the position of your jaw. Having a misaligned jaw can be very painful and cause symptoms of TMD because your joint isn’t functioning efficiently.
For those who need their bite corrected, traditional braces are typically the best option. This allows the orthodontist to use orthodontic elastics, or “rubber bands” to force your jaws to move together into proper alignment.
Another non-invasive option to help with TMD is the application of a mouthguard. Because every individual’s mouth is different, it is best to schedule an appointment with the experts at Holistic Orthodontics to receive a custom-fit mouthguard as opposed to purchasing one over the counter at your local drugstore.
A mouth guard prevents you from clenching and grinding your teeth while also holding your jaw in its proper place. By wearing this device regularly, you will alleviate some of your pain and discomfort.
When other non-invasive remedies don’t alleviate your TMD symptoms, there are surgical procedures that may provide you with relief. Here are some common surgical options to help reduce the severity of your symptoms:
Arthrocentesis is a procedure that injects fluid into your temporomandibular joint. This fluid flushes out the joint to reduce inflammation. A second needle attached to a syringe is then inserted to remove any excess fluid that may still be putting pressure on the joint. This procedure is minimally invasive with a short recovery time.
An arthroscope is a tool with a light and camera at its end that allows oral surgeons to visually see inside the joint. During this procedure, small holes are opened in the skin above the joint. A narrow tube, called a cannula, is inserted through the hole, where the arthroscope and small surgical tools are then inserted.
Arthroscopies allow surgeons to remove scar tissue, reshape the joint, inject medication, and relieve any swelling that may be on the joint.
The most invasive operation is open-joint surgery. Open-joint surgery creates an incision so the surgeon can operate directly on the joint. This procedure allows the removal of any bone growth or excess tissue, as well as the ability to repair or reposition the joint.
Surgical Orthodontics at Holistic Orthodontics
Holistic Orthodontics knows that there are some instances in which the conditions of severe bite issues cannot be addressed with braces alone. However, these issues are correctable with a qualified maxillo-facial surgeon and orthodontist. Our team can provide patients with solutions for abnormalities in their jaw bone, malocclusion, and bad bites that impact their day-to-day life and self-esteem.
To learn more about how our surgical orthodontics options can benefit you, contact us online or call us at (818) 626-3632 today.