Questions about Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMD/TMJ)
Serving Northern Virginia including Oakton, Fairfax, Reston, Alexandria, Arlington and Washington D.C.
What is temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ)?
TMD is an ailment associated with the jaw and the temporomandibular joint, which is located at the back of your jaw and connects to the skull. Sometimes this is caused by a misaligned jaw joint, or even offset teeth. Popping of the jaw and headaches are usually signs of TMD. There are ways to deal with this disorder like regularly going to dentists like Dr. Chung and his associates at Softouch Dental Care, who knows how to deal with all aspects of TMD.
The symptoms of TMD include:
- Earaches, ringing in the ears
- Clicking or popping of the jaw
- Pain in the face, teeth, neck, and shoulders due to muscles working overtime in the jaw
- Teeth Grinding
Many people deal with these symptoms and never know that a solution exists. Many problems like this can be fixed through neuromuscular dentistry, which is a treatment of the aligning of the jaw at the temporomandibular joints. A Neuromuscular dentist, like the ones you will find at Softouch Dental Care understand the need to get to the root of the problem and not just fix the topical issue.
Treatments for TMD
Fortunately, there are many different treatments for TMD. Having dental work done, like pulling teeth or reshaping teeth will ensure that a person’s bite comes together correctly. This will slowly put the jaw back into alignment. It might be as simple as wearing a mouthpiece at night to eliminate teeth grinding. Another solution is an orthotic, which is a customized appliance Dr. Chung will fit you with to help retrain the jaw muscles to move correctly. This goes along with physical therapy to help relax muscles and learn how to use them correctly. Neuromuscular Dentists believe that it is important to treat the cause of the symptoms and not just hand out pain medication as a temporary relief, although this is done frequently.
The top two vertebrae in your neck, the atlas and axis, are very involved with the muscles and the temporomandibular joint, which chew and move your neck. Since all of the muscles work together around your neck and jaw, this causes discomfort and fatigue when they aren’t working properly. When your jaw is not aligned right or you have TMD, the rest of your upper body and its muscles have to compensate for this. This is why you will have pain in these muscles, like the neck, shoulders, and face.