Why Your Jaw Joint is So Important
TMJ stands for the temporomandibular joints, the points in the lower jaw which connect the mandible to the rest of the skull. Unlike other joints in your body, the TMJ can facilitate a full range of motion, allowing you to move your jaw forward, backward, and side to side. All of the motions are especially important when biting, chewing, swallowing, and even breathing.
Given the important role of the TMJ, any damage or wear that occurs to the jaw joint or the thin cartilage disc that rests within the joint can spell serious trouble for your oral and overall health. Often these causes lead to the development of a serious of symptoms, all of which are categorized as temporomandibular joint disorders, or TMD.
Symptoms of TMD
Every patients can show different problems when they develop TMD. Symptoms our Bishop dentist considers when developing a treatment plan include:
- pain in the jaw, neck, and shoulders
- chronic headaches
- jaw muscle stiffness, limited movement, or locking
- painful clicking, popping, or the sensation of grating when the mouth is opened and closed
- ear pain, pressure, or ringing (tinnitus)
As mentioned, patients can experience a range of symptoms. If you think you’re showing signs of TMD, be sure to bring up any and all of your unique symptoms to our dentist in Bishop.
For a better understanding and visual of TMJ, watch this video below:
What Causes TMD?
Unlike other oral health conditions, there is no “one cause” of joint damage. Factors like injuries, genetics, pre-existing conditions, and infection can all contribute to a patient developing a TMD symptom. Some of the most frequent habits that can be blamed for TMD include:
- Frequent grinding – Patients who grind their teeth during the day, or while they are sleeping are more likely to develop a temporomandibular disorder.
- Cradling the phone between your jaw and shoulder – Patients who frequently talk with the phone against their jaw can develop a temporomandibular disorder over time.
- Chewing unevenly – Patients who chew on only one side of their mouth could develop TMD if the joints become overused or stressed.
- Bad posture – Bad posture that affects the jaw has been linked to the possible development of a TMD disorder.
Patients can avoid developing a TMD by being wary of these symptoms, and avoiding bruxism, bad posture, and other causes. For patients who are already suffering from TMD, our team at Skyline Family Dental can offer comprehensive treatment.
Treating your TMD starts with a comprehensive evaluation of your smile. Using GALILEOS 3D imaging technology, Dr. Overholtzer will take an in-depth look at your entire smile to identify the cause of your condition. The results will then determine your treatment options. For some, this may mean using an oral device daily until the jaw muscles are retrained. For others, orthodontics are recommended to correct poor bite alignment. Whatever solution you choose, know that our dentist in Bishop is dedicated to providing you with a long-lasting treatment.
Treating TMJ with Bioesthetic Principles
At Skyline Family Dentistry, we believe in performing more than “smile makeovers.” When patients come to us with occlusion (bite problems) or TMD symptoms we aim to treat more than pain—our mission is to attack the issues at their root.
Signs and Symptoms of Bite Problems
- Head and neck pain that you have been told you need to live with
- You have migraines or headaches and the cause has not been determined
- Your jaw joint clicks, pops or locks when opened or closed
- You have worn, chipped or broken teeth
- You’ve been told that you have TMJ/TMD and must wear a night guard forever
The Bioesthetic Process
If you have TMJ/TMD, bite problems or other forms of pain, let Dr. Gabriel Overholtzer repair your entire chewing system from the bottom up. The entire Bioesthetic process consists of:
- A complete examination of your head and neck
- A bite study to evaluate your individual needs
- Jaw stabilization using a MAGO splint. This is where you will begin seeing the changes in your face and your pain will start to disappear as your jaw settles back into the socket
- Once the jaw is stable in the socket, Dr. Gabriel Overholtzer will make a complete and proper diagnosis
Let Us Know About Your TMD Pain
TMD is an uncomfortable, and sometimes painful, condition that can affect the way you eat, speak, and smile. If something feels wrong with these joints, give us a call right away to schedule a consultation with Dr. Overholtzer.