Greenwood area dentist describes TMJ
One condition that many patients are not thoroughly educated on, and are often curious as to what it entails, is TMJ. TMJ, which is actually the temporomandibular joint, is referred to as a condition in which this “hinge” becomes dysfunctional. The condition itself is called TMD (Temporomandibular disorder).
The TMJ is the joint that holds the jaw to the temporal bones of the skull. These bones are located in front of the ears. This joint is how patients open their mouth for speaking, yawning, and chewing their food. When there are problems with the joint or the muscles around it, it can cause great discomfort. This condition may be chronic and is known as TMD.
Patients with TMD may experience a variety of issues, which may include, but are not limited to:
- The inability to or difficulty in opening the mouth, resulting in a locked position
- Pain or tenderness around the joint, or even along the neck, shoulders, or ears
- Clicking and popping sounds when patients open and close their mouth, it may be painful, but not always
- Swelling around the joint
- A “tired” feeling around the jaw area
- A feeling as though the upper and lower dental arch are not aligned properly
Dr. Christopher T. Griffin works closely with patients who are describing these symptoms to determine if they have TMD. TMD can be diagnosed with x-rays and an examination. Some patients with TMD may have obvious problems with their teeth such as worn enamel, which may indicate the condition as well. Speaking with a dedicated professional who is familiar with TMJ and TMD concerns is the best way to get answers and learn about the ways in which this issue can be addressed.
Treatments to address TMD problems may include special mouth guards (known as splints or night guards), prescription medications for pain, or dental work such as orthodontics to repair bite alignment issues that can contribute to the development of TMD.
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