All of us have two small, flexible joints that connect our jawbones to our skulls. These are the temporomandibular joints, or TMJs. TMJs are responsible for just about everything our mouths do, from speaking and chewing to facial expressions.
They can move in several different directions, and take quite a lot of wear and tear. Unfortunately, this does leave the TMJs susceptible to damage and injury. These injuries are known as TMDs, or temporomandibular disorders.
The Symptoms and Causes of a TMD
You may be suffering from a TMD if you experience some of the following:
- Jaw pain
- Jaw locking
- Consistent headaches
- Difficulty chewing
- Muscles spasms around the mouth, cheeks, and eyes
The causes of a TMD are as varied as individual people are from one another. Various stressors come together to form unique combinations. Some of the most common causes, however, are accident or injury, stress, bruxism, jaw misalignment, and arthritis.
Accidents happen to everyone. Whether they be on the road, or at a sporting event, most of us will experience some type of physical accident in our lifetimes. Unfortunately, the prone position on either side of our face makes the TMJs ripe candidates for blunt trauma.
Stress is the leading cause of so many medical problems in our lives. Just one of those is bruxism, or teeth grinding. When we experience high levels of stress, we carry it in our muscles and joints. Unconsciously, we clench our teeth or even grind them together.
Jaw misalignment can be inborn or caused by injury. Either way, it can pull on the joints in ways that they were not designed to go. Repairing this alignment dramatically eases tension on the TMJs.
The good news is that most causes of TMDs are treatable. With the top-notch technology that we use in our WIlmington office, we can very effectively diagnose the TMJ’s specific problems and come up with an individualized solution. This includes the use of modern CT scanners and doppler listening devices.
Much of the treatment and healing for TMDs involves taking the pressure off of the joint so that it can rest properly. This can be achieved through orthodontia, which corrects severe jaw misalignment. For less severe alignment problems, or those caused by stress, orthotic appliances can be worn which prevent grinding, ease the pressure of clenching, and keep the jaw properly in place.
Give Us a Call Today
If your jaw has been experiencing any of the above symptoms, you may be suffering from a TMD. Don’t hesitate to set up a consultation with us, so that we can get you the treatment you need.