Colorado Springs, CO
TMD is a painful disorder that occurs in the temporomandibular joint. Any pain or swelling that you experience in this area of your mouth falls under the TMD category. While it is commonly confused with the term TMJ, Andrew Miller, DDS and Francisco Darquea, DDS at SmileCOS Dentistry want to help set you straight.
What Is TMJ? What is TMD?
TMJ is the name of the joint that operates the jaw - this joint can cause you to suffer from swelling or pain. The TMJ, or temporomandibular joint, is what connects your head and jawbone. The joint is what you use when you open and close your mouth when talking, chewing, or smiling.
If you have pain or dysfunction in that joint, we call it TMD or temporomandibular dysfunction (sometimes called disorder).
What are the Symptoms of TMD?
TMD shows up differently in each patient. Most commonly, though patients complain of a clicking noise when they open and close their mouth, pain in the jaw throughout the day, an inflamed jawbone area, and the inability to chew foods that they could once chew.
Again, because each person has different symptoms, you may have one or more of these symptoms or not have any of them. Our dentists can diagnose the issue with a physical examination in addition to listening to your symptoms.
How We Diagnose TMD
Our dentists are experts at diagnosing TMD. We start by talking to you about your discomfort or any symptoms that you feel. We will then examine your mouth, paying close attention to your jaw when opening and closing your mouth. As you move your mouth, our dentists will carefully press on the area to pinpoint the areas of discomfort.
If we determine that there may be a problem, we will be identifying the issue using technology like digital x-rays and CT scans.
X-rays give us a better look at your jawbone, and a CT scan can provide images that are even more detailed, should we need to take things a step further.
Caring for TMD
Our dentists have several ways that they can help the discomfort caused by TMD.
We always start with the least invasive option first to see if it helps you. The first steps usually include anti-inflammatory medications or pain relievers. We start with over-the-counter medications, moving to stronger prescription medications if necessary.
We also suggest that you apply heat or ice to the area to see if it helps reduce the pain.
If medications do not offer the relief you need, or if you want to take treatment as step further, we also offer a few other options, including mouth guards that you wear at night when you sleep, and physical therapy to help strengthen the jaw. We may also show you stretches and massages that you can do at home to help strengthen your jaw as well as alleviate the pain.
There are a variety of surgical treatments available to treat TMD. These range from minimally invasive procedures to open-joint surgery for the most severe cases.
Regardless of which treatment option might be best for you, our dentists will take the time to discuss the entire process with you, along with all of the possible benefits and expectations that you should have.
Why Is it Important to Treat TMJ?
Reduce Dental Damage
One of the major reasons why it is so important to get timely TMD treatment is because ignoring this condition could lead to severe tooth damage.
Constant tooth grinding can destroy the enamel of your teeth. This makes your teeth susceptible to infections and cavities.
While you may fix your affected teeth, this condition will keep on occurring as long as you are suffering from TMD.
Timely treatment will prevent your teeth from getting damaged and help you keep your natural teeth in good health for as long as possible.
Relief From Discomfort
Constant tooth grinding can lead to severe discomfort in your mouth. Not only will you end up suffering from tooth sensitivity, but you will also suffer from other problems such as jaw pain, ear pain, neck pain, and headaches.
It also disrupts your sleep pattern and you will end up getting sick more often because your body isn't getting the right amount of rest.
Effective TMD treatments by our professionals will help improve your overall health and provide relief from constant discomfort.
Better Eating Habits
People who suffer from TMD often suffer from tooth sensitivity and jaw pain which makes it difficult for them to eat. They find it difficult to even take a bite of food, and they end up compromising by eating things that are easier to swallow rather than having to chew.
While this may be a temporary solution, it's not something you should do on a long-term basis because it will have adverse effects on your overall health. This also affects your teeth and makes them weak.
The sooner you get TMD treatment, the sooner you will manage to have healthier teeth and a healthier body because you will eat better.
Protect Ear Health
One of the major problems TMD causes is a constant earache. This happens because when you constantly grind your teeth you put a lot of pressure on your jaw and that pain eventually creeps up to the back of your ears. Earaches can be very disturbing and painful and no amount of antibiotics and ear drops will be able to make it better. If you want to improve your ear health then it is highly recommended to get your TMD treated by our professionals.
People who suffer from TMD often have disrupted sleep. They are also in a lot of pain and this eventually results in them being in an irritable mood. People who are in such a frame of mind cannot be productive and often end up having a short fuse with their loved ones or coworkers. When you get TMD treated you sleep a lot better and you don't have to suffer from any more aches and pains. This keeps you in a good mood and well-rested.
Schedule An Appointment for TMJ Treatment in Colorado Springs
TMD is a major health concern and the sooner you look for effective treatment measures, the healthier you will be. You can visit us to see the most effective ways to treat this condition so you can lead a healthy, and hopefully pain-free life.
If you are in or around the Colorado Springs, CO area, pleasecall SmileCOS Dentistry at (719) 394-3304 today. Our Colorado Springs dentists will help you discover the reason you have pain in your jaw and the appropriate treatments to help alleviate the pain.