Tired of your headaches and jaw pain? Wishing that those weird popping noises from your jaw would stop? At Foothill Family Dental, Dr. Riad and his team know those symptoms aren't imagined. They can uncover the underlying causes and treat them. Read here about TMD, temporomandibular joint disorder, and how your Foothill Ranch, CA, dentist can help.
The symptoms and causes of TMD
You have two jaw joints--one at each side of your head. They open and close your mouth and facilitate speech, biting, chewing and other oral functions. The joints are bony; however, they also have disc-like cartilage, musculature and connective tissue. Out of balance, overused or otherwise stressed, the components of the temporomandibular joints don't work properly, leading to:
- Facial pain, earaches and headaches
- Popping or clicking noises when eating or opening/closing the mouth
- Jaw dislocation (this is a medical emergency)
- Tinnitus (buzzing or ringing in the ears)
- Neck, back and shoulder stiffness and discomfort
Causes of TMD symptom are many and may include arthritis in the jaw joint, stress, teeth grinding and clenching, uneven dental bite and more. Plus, while symptoms of TMD can be quirky and episodic, they are very real and frustrating.
Unfortunately, approximately 10 million Americans suffer from TMD, says the American Academy of Craniofacial Pain. However, expert diagnosis and treatment definitely help. That's where your Foothill Ranch, CA, dentist comes in.
Diagnosing and treating TMD
Dr. Riad and his team will carefully listen to and document your jaw joint symptoms. He'll perform a complete oral examination and take digital X-rays. Then, he'll suggest ways to relieve your symptoms.
One helpful intervention is a custom-made bite guard. Worn at night to alleviate habitual teeth clenching and grinding, this comfortable acrylic appliance provides much needed cushioning and helps properly align the upper and lower jaws.
Other common treatments include:
- Muscle relaxants
- A soft diet
- Relaxation techniques
- Good posture while sitting and standing
- Sleeping on your back, rather than on the stomach or side
- Placement of dental crowns to even dental bite
- Ice to the jaw to relieve swelling and pain
- Orthodontics to correct misalignments
Surgical intervention is an option, too, but only in severe cases of TMD if less invasive measures haven't worked.
You can manage your TMD. For compassionate and knowledgeable help, please contact Foothill Family Dental in Foothill Ranch, CA, for a consultation with your dentist, Dr. Riad. Call (949) 273-8600. We have early morning and evening office hours.