What is TMJ/TMD?
TMJ is an acronym for the temporomandibular joint, located directly in front of each ear. TMJ is often used to describe TMD, or temporomandibular joint disorder, symptoms related to the jaw and its supporting structures that include various types of head and neck pain.
What are the symptoms of TMD?
Common symptoms include:
- Pain or tenderness of the ear, jaw, jaw joints and facial muscles
- Temple pain
- Throat pain
- Pain with opening the jaw
- Pain with chewing
- Neck, shoulder, back and arm pain
- A ‘locking’ sensation of the joint
- Clicking, popping and grating noises
What causes TMD?
There is no one specific cause for TMD, but trauma to the jaw or TMJ can cause TMD. Arthritis, bruxism (teeth clenching) or neck conditions may also be responsible. TMD is a chronic, degenerative condition that must be managed immediately and over time.
Is TMD causing my headaches?
While many factors cause headaches, TMD is one explanation. Stress causes us to clench our teeth, putting undue pressure on the jaw joints. This can start a cycle of facial contraction that can lead to TMD.
Does TMD require surgery?
Surgery is not a first line of treatment and is only considered when all other, more conservative treatments fail to alleviate and manage your symptoms.
Non-surgical options are designed to reduce pressure on the TMJ, decrease pain and allow you to resume normal activity when chewing, talking, yawning and swallowing.
How is TMD treated?
Symptom relief begins with ULF-TENS (Ultra Low Frequency Transcutaneous Electrical Neural Stimulation), a method for relaxing your muscles with gentle massage. ULF-TENS also stimulates the body’s production of endorphins, a natural anesthetic that helps to reduce pain. Dr. Mathew then stabilizes your bite using a variety of advanced neuromuscular techniques to gently and safely restore your bite to its optimal position. Finally, Dr. Mathew will discuss with you various strategies to manage your TMD long term for the health of the joint and a pain-free existence.
If you suspect you may be suffering from the symptoms of TMD, don’t wait to seek treatment. Long-term, untreated TMD can lead to arthritis of the joint, or may cause the jaw to lock in position, requiring more invasive treatment. Dr. Paul Mathew and our compassionate Artisan Dentistry team in Salem, New Hampshire and Newburyport, Massachusetts are highly trained in the treatment of TMD. We would be happy to schedule your complimentary consultation immediately to put you on the road to living pain-free. Why not contact us today?