"The staff was very helpful and friendly. They answered all of my questions and helped me to feel at ease. Though the doctor was very knowledgeable, she used terms and explanations I could understand. What I loved about the staff was that they made me feel comfortable. It was as though I had been a patient for years. It was a great experience!" -- Jade
At each side of the jaw bone, there is a joint called the temporomandibular joint. When operating properly, the temporomandibular joints facilitate the sliding and pivoting movements that are necessary for functional chewing and speaking. Most of the time, these tasks are readily performed without complication. However, should the TMJ experience some sort of challenge, a person may feel popping or clicking in the jaw when they try to chew or speak. This is what is called a temporomandibular disorder, or TMD.
To treat TMD, the patient must first become aware of the problem he or she is experiencing. In many cases, people have this disorder but have no idea what may be the cause or what to do about it. It is often assumed to be a slight condition that will pass in time. By recognizing the symptoms of TMJ/TMD, the patient may move more swiftly towards successful treatment in our holistic dental practice. Some of the common symptoms to look for include:
- Clicking or popping in jaw joints when chewing or speaking
- Pain in the jaw
- Generalized facial pain
- Neck pain
- Persistent headaches
- Frequent earaches
- Changes in bite
- Discomfort or difficulty in chewing
- Worn down teeth
- Loose teeth without periodontal disease
Disorders affecting the temporomandibular joints are varied, and either one or both joints may be affected. In some cases it is a significant misalignment of bite that places extra pressure on the joint. However, the joints may also develop issues due to injury, habits like nail-biting or biting on hard objects, clenching or grinding teeth, or even as a result of a degenerative disease. While we do seek to find the underlying cause of joint pain, the treatment for TMD does not change. This is fortunate due to the fact that sometimes no cause can be found.
Every patient is different, and thus may experience symptoms in his or her own way. In many instances, a combination of symptoms eventually present and lead the patient to seek treatment. If you have any question whether you may be feeling symptoms of TMJ/TMD, contact our office for a thorough evaluation.
In our holistic dental practice, Dr. Keith and Dr. Medlock screen patients that are having TMJ symptoms. When the TMJ symptoms are mild, the treatment may consist of a customized occlusal orthotic, which is a clear plastic appliance that places the jaw in its ideal position for muscle relaxation. For more advanced cases, we can refer patients to a TMJ specialist to ensure our patients get the customized care they deserve.