Temporomandibular disorders are a common subgroup of orofacial pain disorders, often referred to as "TMJ". TMD symptoms include pain or discomfort in or around the ear, jaw joint, and/or muscles of the jaw, face, temples, and neck on one or both sides. The pain may arise suddenly and progress with fluctuating frequency and intensity over months to years. Clicking, popping, grating (crepitus), locking, limited opening or deviating jaw movement, chewing difficulties, and headache are also associated with TMD.
Causes for TMD are unclear as TMD usually involves more than a single symptom and rarely has a single cause. TMD is believed to result from several factors acting together, including jaw injuries (trauma), and joint disease (arthritis). Tooth clenching and grinding (bruxism) and head and neck muscle tension, while not scientifically proven to be a cause of TMD may perpetuate TMD symptoms and often need to be controlled to reduce and manage TMD. IT is important for the TMD patient to understand that the disorder can be chronic in nature and highly dependent on several factors including emotional stability. Because there is no quick fix or immediate cure for TMD, the most successful and scientifically supported treatments focus on self-management and control of the aggravating factors.
Factors associated with TMD include trauma, arthritis, abnormal habits, malocclusion (abnormal bite), psychological factors, diseases of the TMJ, abuse of drugs and certain prescription medications.
Treatment options for TMD include occlusal orthotic, stress management, trigger point injections, botox therapy, physical therapy and occlusal correction. To see which treatment is right for you please call our office to schedule a consultation.
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