What is temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD)?
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 pain is caused by a misaligned jaw joint, or even offset teeth.
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 that aligns the jaw at the temporomandibular joints. Dr. Chung has received advanced training in neuromuscular dentistry, and he understands the need to get to the root of the problem and not just fix the topical issue.
What are treatment options for TMD?
Fortunately, there are many different TMD treatment options. 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. Dr. Chung believes that it is important to treat the causes of TMD 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, 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.
If you feel you may be suffering from TMD, contact Softouch Dental Care by calling 703-319-6990 to schedule an initial consultation at our dentist office in Northern Virginia. Dr. Chung can answer your questions about symptoms, diagnosis, treatment and more.