TMJ AND TMD
Temporomandibular joint disorders, abbreviated as (TMJ or TMD), refer to any condition affecting the alignment of your jaw, causing discomfort and or pain. If left untreated, this condition can lead to more considerable pain and even damage to your jaw, face, neck, and back, and in severe cases, result in postural problems.
Clinically TMJ is simply an abbreviation for the joint itself (the temporomandibular joint), rather than a description of the actual condition of TMD and its accompanying pain and inflammation.
Injury to your jaw, the joint, or the muscles of your head and neck — like from a heavy blow or whiplash — can lead to TMD. Other causes include:
- Grinding or clenching your teeth, which puts a lot of pressure on the joint
- Movement of the soft cushion or disc between the ball and socket of the joint
- Arthritis in the joint
- Stress, which can cause you to tighten facial and jaw muscles or clench the teeth
TMD often causes extreme pain and discomfort, which can be temporary or last many years. It might affect one or both sides of your face. More women than men have it, and it’s most common among people between the ages of 20 and 40.
According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, there are three categories of TMD disorders, which include:
- Pain in the muscles that control jaw function
- Internal derangement of the joint involving the disc being displaced, dislocated jaw or injury to the condyle/joint
- Arthritis-related issues that are degenerative/inflammatory joint disorders
Common symptoms include:
- Pain or tenderness in your face, jaw joint area, neck and shoulders, and in or around the ear when you chew, speak, or open your mouth wide
- Problems when you try to open your mouth wide
- Jaws that get “stuck” or “lock” in the open- or closed-mouth position
- Clicking, popping, or grating sounds in the jaw joint when you open or close your mouth or chew. This may or may not be painful.
- A tired feeling in your face
- Trouble chewing or a sudden uncomfortable bite — as if the upper and lower teeth are not fitting together properly
- Swelling on the side of your face
Dr. Monica Crooks uses advanced 3D imaging technology, which can take images of your jaw to assist in diagnosing the cause of your symptoms. Once diagnosed, she can present a treatment plan that will work for you.
If you have consistent pain, tenderness, or reduced range of motion in your jaw, you should make an appointment to see Dr. Monica Crooks. TMJ is a highly treatable condition, and the earlier it is evaluated, the higher your chance of successful resolution and full recovery without complications.
Dr. Monica Crooks starts by determining the cause of your TMD and works closely with you to determine your best treatment option. Nightguards are the most common initial treatment for TMD. They are made from a combination of soft inside/hard outside plastic that fits over your upper or lower teeth, reducing the tension in your jaw joint. Each night guard is custom-made by Dr. Crooks to fit you perfectly.
If slightly misaligned teeth are the cause of your TMD, Orthodontics such as Invisalign® or Six-Month Smile may be the best treatment for you. Your teeth will be orthodontically moved into the proper position to align your bite. By moving your teeth into their correct position, the pressure on your jaw is potentially released, allowing you freedom from the discomfort of TMD.
In more severe cases, Dr. Monica Crooks may reposition your jaw with full mouth restorations. She combines oral appliances and orthodontic treatments with cosmetic services such as porcelain veneers and porcelain crowns to achieve an optimal bite position for your mouth or rebuild a deteriorated dentition.
The TMD treatment that is best for you depends on your unique condition. If you are suffering from TMD, or have unexplained jaw pain, call Dr. Monica Crooks in Sacramento at (916) 922-2027 and schedule a consultation today!
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