Temporomandibular Disorders (TMD/TMJ) in Reno & Northern Nevada
What is Temporomandibular Disorders (TMD/TMJ)?
The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) acts as a hinge that connects your jawbone to your skull. This “hinge” lets you move your jaw up and down and side to side. The temporomandibular joint, when not functioning properly, can cause a tremendous amount of pain. The tissues behind the joint (retrodiscal tissues) have many nerves that run through them. Once they become inflamed, any slight pressure will cause pain and perpetuate the problem.
What are the symptoms?
Facial or jaw pain in the chewing muscles or jaw joint is a common symptom of temporomandibular joint disorders. Facial pain may also be caused by dislocation or injuries which are internal changes to the joint involving a displaced disc, a dislocated jaw, or injury to the muscle. Arthritis and degenerative or inflammatory joint disorders also may lead to facial pain.
How are Temporomandibular Disorders (TMD/TMJ) treated?
Treatment involves unloading the inflamed tissues to allow them to recover and try to avoid allowing the problem to recur. Depending on your history and symptoms, your prosthodontist may recommend a stabilization splint (bite guard) to treat your pain. This custom-made plastic device fits over the upper or lower teeth and is used to control the interaction between the top and bottom teeth and maintains the joint in a healthy position. Stabilization splints are the most common treatments for TMJ disorders, including facial pain.
How do I care for Temporomandibular Disorders (TMD/TMJ) at home?
Facial pain may be relieved by eating soft foods, applying ice packs when pain occurs, and avoiding extreme jaw movements (including wide yawning, loud singing, and gum chewing). Since facial pain is often associated with stress and/or cramps in the chewing muscles, techniques to reduce stress and practicing gentle jaw stretching and relaxing exercises to increase jaw movement may be helpful. Short-term use of common pain medicines may provide temporary relief from jaw discomfort and facial pain.
Have more questions?
Want to learn more about Temporomandibular Disorders (TMD/TMJ)? Call or email to schedule a consultation with one of our prosthodontists today. We’re happy to work with you or your regular dentist to determine what treatment option is best for you. Please call our Reno office at 775.323.3574 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.