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Temporomandibular Joint Problems & Treatment

Is your jaw sore? Do you have headaches? Do you hear a clicking sound in your head when you move your mouth? These may be signs of an issue with your temporomandibular joint (TMJ). This is your jaw joint, and it can be the source of some uncomfortable problems.

TMJ problems are not easily diagnosed. The clinical term for these problems is TMD, or temporomandibular joint disorder. The symptoms of TMD are often misattributed to other issues you think you may have. The pain you feel may seem more like a toothache. You might think that the headaches are from stress. Dr. Duffield will be able to diagnose whether your problems are from a joint issue or some other cause.

Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMD)

TMD is tricky because there are many different things that can cause this condition. Trauma to muscles in the joint are believed to be one of the causes. Other causes believed to result in TMD are:

  • Arthritis in the joint – This is the same type of arthritis that attacks the other joints in your body and can be just as painful.
  • Grinding, clenching, or gnashing your teeth – This activity puts undue amounts of stress on the joint and can cause TMJ pain.
  • Everyday stress – The rigors of life take a toll on every part of us. Your jaw is no different.
  • Movement of the soft tissue within the joint – There is a soft disc inside the joint socket. If it moves from its place, it may cause pain and discomfort.

Symptoms Of TMD/TMJ

There are many symptoms of this disorder, and they oftentimes are mistaken for other ailments. Possible symptoms are:

  • Pain in the area around your jaw, neck, and shoulders – Because the jaw joint extends all the way to your temple, a problem in this area can have far-reaching effects.
  • Issues when you widely open your mouth – Pain or discomfort from doing this can be a sign of TMD.
  • Mouth “locking” in either the open or closed position – This is inconvenient and scary when it happens. If you experience this, you should see Dr. Duffield as soon as you can.
  • Headaches and migraines – Because the jaw joint muscles extend all the way to the temple, issues with this joint can cause severe headaches. Migraine headaches are some of the most severe that you can experience. If this is happening to you, schedule an appointment with our office to find out what your options are.

Other symptoms that may be attributed to an issue with your temporomandibular joint include toothaches and earaches, as well as others.

Treatment Options

Duffield Dentistry offers several treatment options to help alleviate the issues associated with TMD. Those options include:

  • Mouthguards – A mouthguard will help prevent teeth clenching and teeth grinding, especially during sleep.
  • Palliative muscle relaxant treatment – Dr. Duffield will prescribe a specific type of muscle relaxant to help with your issues.
  • Crowns and bonding – Dr. Duffield may use these restorations to reshape your teeth and take stress off the joint.
  • Orthodontics – Adjusting your bite through orthodontic methods is another option Dr. Duffield may consider when trying to address TMD symptoms caused by misalignment.

Dr. Lawrence Duffield is ready to help you with this condition. The first step is to schedule an appointment to diagnose the problem. If it is TMD/TMJ, Dr. Duffield will begin to work up a treatment plan to address your specific issues. Call our Royal Oak, MI office at 248-721-4502 to schedule your appointment. You are also welcome to leave us a message using the online form. Someone will contact you shortly.


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