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, the experts at SmileCOS Dentistry want to help set you straight.
What is TMJ?
TMJ is the name of the joint in your face that can 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.
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, such as 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 mouthguards 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.
If you think you have an issue with your TMJ, call SmileCOS Dentistry at (719) 394-3304 today. Our dentists will help you discover the reason you have pain in your jaw and the appropriate treatments to help alleviate the pain.