Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD) is a term referring to a number of clinical problems involving the temporomandibular joints (TMJs) and associated muscles and structures of the head and neck.
Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD) is a term referring to a number of clinical problems involving the temporomandibular joints (TMJs) and associated muscles and structures of the area.
- Pain in the face, head and neck regions
- Pain when chewing
- Clicking, popping and/or grating noises in the jaw joints
- A limited ability to open the mouth wide or move it side-to-side
- Frequent headaches
- Earaches, buzzing, ringing noises in the ears
- Deep pain in the jaw joint itself
- Locking, catching or sticking of the jaw
- Inability to find a comfortable bite position
- Chronic grinding or clenching of the teeth
- Habits such as nail biting
- Misaligned teeth
- Trauma resulting in injury to the head, neck or jaw
- Other diseases such as lupus, scleroderma, fibromyalgia and gout
- Growth or developmental disturbances of the jaw
- Medications that can cause grinding or clenching
The first step in the diagnosis of TMJ disorders is through the completion of a thorough examination. This includes the following:
- TMJ history of pain and/or joint noise
- Any necessary x-rays or other images of the teeth and jaw joints
- Examination of the jaw joints, muscles of the head and neck
- Examination of the bite and teeth.
We may also advise patients to seek an examination from a medical doctor to rule out the presence of underlying medical problems that may be occurring in combination with or disguising themselves as TMJ problems.
- Initial treatment for TMJ disorders can include the following:
- Resting the jaw joints
- Switching to a soft diet
- Elimination of certain foods and/or habits
- Medication to reduce inflammation and/or relax muscles
- Physical therapy
- Stabilization of the jaw joints through the use of an appliance that fits on top of the teeth and is specifically designed for your symptoms.
Different types of appliances are prescribed based on the problem that has been diagnosed. Dr. Gross will make a custom appliance that is adjusted to distribute the forces and stresses on the jaw joints and muscles.Frequently Asked Questions
TMJ/TMD Frequently Asked Questions
I have had a bite splint made before at another office and it does not work for me. What can I do?
There are different designs for bite splints depending on the goal of the treatment and your specific diagnosis. It is possible that your previous splint was not designed and adjusted for your individual needs. We would be happy to do an examination to determine your specific needs and help refit you for a more effective bite splint or another treatment option that is best for your individual situation. Feel free to call or contact us.
Is this treatment covered by my dental or medical benefits plan?
Dental and medical benefit plans vary widely regarding procedures that are covered. We will be happy to help determine if you have coverage for this type of treatment.
Can I purchase an appliance at the drugstore or over the internet that does the same thing?
Appliances that are purchased over the Internet or over-the-counter are not custom made for your individual bite. These could actually cause you to clench even more and result in worsening of the symptoms. They typically do not distribute and balance the bite forces, which is necessary to relax the muscles.