Temporomandibular DisordersTMD Care

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The temporomandibular joint, or jaw joint, is perhaps the most complex joint in the human body. Not only does the joint allow the mouth to open and close, but it also allows the lower jaw to move from side to side. Due to this complexity, any problems inhibiting the proper functioning of the temporomandibular joint are often complex as well.

A temporomandibular disorder, or TMD (also referred to as temporomandibular syndrome), can result from a number of causes, many of which are still unknown, but one potential source is the uneven positioning of teeth. When the mouth closes and teeth meet at awkward angles or if crooked teeth force the mouth into a difficult position when it is completely closed, the jaw muscles can become strained and in turn pull the temporomandibular joint away from its socket.

External injuries to the jaw or jaw muscle and grinding of the teeth, during the night or otherwise, can also lead to TMDs. These, however, are just a few of the potential causes of this complex and multifaceted problem. A visit to Niagara-on-the-Lake Dental can help you to narrow down the cause of your symptoms and together we can determine whether you have a TMD.

Common Symptoms of TMD

The symptoms of a TMD can often be confused with other problems, dental or otherwise, and include:
● cracking or clicking of the jaw when it opens or closes● tenderness of the jaw muscles that is often worse in the mornings● pain in the jaw when biting and chewing, or opening it wide● a misaligned bite, meaning your top and bottom teeth do not come together properly (also known as malocclusion)● pain that resembles an earache even if the ear is not infected● a feeling that your jaw has locked up when opened wide or when chewing.
Other symptoms may also arise, but these are some of the more common ones.

Comprehensive Testing

Because the symptoms of a TMD are easily confused with those of other health problems, we need to ensure that they are due to an issue with the temporomandibular joint before agreeing on a treatment plan. The test for a TMD is extensive, involving reviewing past dental and medical records, studying X-rays, carefully recording any jaw cracking or popping, and investigating the bite, to name a few of the more common components of the examination.

This is the initial exam; if a TMD seems likely following these tests, we carry out more extensive testing.

If you would like to read more about this intricate condition, please consult the Canadian Dental Association webpage.

We offer solutions

Once we are sure that you do have a TMD, we will work with you to treat the disorder and provide as much comfort as possible. Due to their nature, a full cure for a TMD is unlikely, though it is possible to provide relief through the use of dental appliances, such as Invisalign® or restoratives, including bridges, dental bonds, veneers, crowns, dentures and fillings, which can improve your bite.

Contact us at Niagara-on-the-Lake Dental, and we will do our best to see that you get the attention needed to alleviate your TMD symptoms.