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A Quick Guide To Temporomandibular Disorders (TMD)

Posted on 24.12.2013 by perfectsmile

When you visit a Perfect Smile Dental Surgery you’ll immediately be aware of the fact that you’re accessing more than simply the standard treatments such as fillings and extractions. Our surgeries combine a commitment to embracing the very latest technologies and treatments on offer, with a strict adherence to the highest levels of patient care, meaning they are state of the art and high tech yet still boast a relaxing and welcoming ambience. One of the other key features is the scope of the services we offer. From standard pain relief and quick fix treatments all the way up to more complex and far reaching cosmetic plans aimed at totally transforming the smile of the patient. On top of this, a state of the art clinic will know all about, and be able to spot and treat, slightly more obscure conditions such as Temporomandibular disorders (TMD).

TMD centres on the jaw and presents with a variety of different symptoms. Most of the difficulties are caused by problems with the muscles of the jaw or with the actual joint itself. Put simply, if it is painful or problematic to open and close your mouth, if it makes unusual popping or clicking noises when you do so or if it sometimes locks when either open or closed, then you may be suffering from TMD.

A more detailed breakdown of the symptoms associated with TMD runs as follows:

Difficulty with Movement – in some cases the ball and socket joint of the jaw might lock and prove difficult to move when the mouth is either open or closed. Even if it doesn’t lock into complete immobility it may be difficult to move due to pain.

Painful Ear – a pain in your ear may well be an ear infection but it could also be related to problems with the jaw. If the pain becomes apparent in front of or below the ear rather than deep inside it then it may well be a side effect of TMD.

Noises – one of the most frequently cited symptoms of TMD is the presence of unusual sounds when you open and close your mouth, usually of a clicking, grinding or popping nature. These noises may or may not present with pain as well.

Chewing – if you have problems chewing your food it may well be the result of a re-alignment of your teeth brought about by TMD.

Waking stiffness – if your jaw feels stiff and aching when you wake up it may well be that you are grinding your teeth while you sleep. If you do this on a regular basis then it may well lead to stiffness and muscle pain.

Headaches – there are, of course, many different factors which can cause a headache, but if a physician is able to discount any other causes then a headache may well be brought about by TMD.

If you feel you may be suffering from TMD then the best thing to do is visit your dentist and ask a few questions. A combination of physical visual examinations and diagnostic tools such as x-rays, CT and MRI scans will allow your dentist to ascertain whether TMD is occurring. If it is, then the treatments mainly consist of fairly simple steps which you can take in the comfort of your own home. These include eating softer foods, applying ice or heat packs and learning to avoid more intensive movements of the jaw. In more serious cases a dentist may well recommend the use of anti-inflammatory or muscle relaxing medication or the use of oral appliances to gradually re-set the position of the jaw.

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