TMJ/TMD: Common Causes and Treatment

The Temporomandibular Joint commonly known as the TMJ acts as a sliding hinge that connects the lower jaw to the skull. This makes it possible for our jaw to move in all directions to assist with things like eating, drinking, chewing, talking and even yawning. However, this joint can become damaged in many ways resulting in TMD.

 

TMD which stands for Temporomandibular Joint Disorder is a range of conditions due to having abnormal jaw function. The most common being myofascial pain which is the discomfort and pain in muscles controlling the jaw, neck, and shoulders. Others are dislocation or displacement of the condyle, the rounded part at the end of the jaw. As well as degenerative joint diseases such as osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis.

 

Common causes of TMD are:

  • StressStress
  • Facial injury
  • Teeth grinding
  • Genetics
  • Misaligned jaw
  • Malocclusion of the teeth (crossbite, overbite, underbite, open bite, or crowded teeth)
  • Missing teeth

 

There is an array of causes for TMD and most result in muscle spasms, tension, and pain. It can also lead to lockjaw or difficulty opening and closing your mouth. Other symptoms include:

 

  • Headaches and migraines
  • Worn or loose teeth
  • Muscle spasms in the neck and shoulders
  • Pain behind eyes
  • Clicking or popping of the jaw
  • Earaches or clogged feeling in ears
  • Cramping in the jaw

 

It’s recommended that you avoid crunchy foods and chewing gum. These can exacerbate damage to your TMJ. There are treatments for TMD and many can be done from the comfort of your home.

 

  • Apply a hot or cold moist compress to the affected area for 10-20 minutes at a time
  • Exercises such as slowly massaging and stretching the jaw
  • Doctor recommended anti-inflammatory

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If the TMD is more severe your dentist may recommend a two-phase treatment. Phase 1 typically includes the use of an orthotic device that sits on your lower or upper teeth, 24/7 for 4-6 months. Afterwards when the pain levels have decreased, phase 2 will begin. This phase can include any of the following:

 

  • Wearing a long term removable orthotic, full time or part-time
  • Replacing missing teeth
  • Orthodontic treatment such as braces
  • Restore all the lower and/or upper teeth with crowns and veneers to preserve the optimal occlusion (bite) achieved in phase I.

 

Your TMJ is delicate and can be the source of much pain and discomfort. Somethings are just unavoidable, like a facial or dental trauma. It can be challenging dealing with stress or even your genetics. No matter the reason, there are treatments available to help alleviate the symptoms you don’t need to suffer in silence.  Remember if you are experiencing oral pain call us right away!

 

Smith Valley Smiles

2311 Highway 208
Smith, NV 89430
Phone: 775-465-2388

What Causes Tooth Sensitivity & How is it Treated?

With the weather changing, many may notice that the cold air is causing a sharp pain at the base of a tooth. This could be the result of tooth sensitivity, but what exactly does that mean?

Tooth sensitivity can occur for many reasons

Cementum.png

The leading cause of tooth sensitivity is the erosion of enamel and cementum. Your enamel is a hard substance that covers the surface of your tooth. Its job is to protect the tooth above the gum line from everyday life. The job of the cementum is quite similar except its responsibility lies beneath the gum line. The cementum covers and protects the roots as well as a more delicate layer of the tooth known as the dentin.

 

Dentin has small fluid-filled tubes that connect directly to nerve endings underneath the gum line. When the cementum is eroded, the dentin has a higher exposure to the elements. Which causes pain and sensitivity to hot and cold components that may not have been there before.

 

Fear not, having sensitive teeth is very common and treatable. The treatment you receive is based on what is causing the sensitivity. Common treatments are:

 

  • Desensitizing toothpaste: After multiple uses, it starts to block the pain linked with sensitive teeth.Hot vs Cold.png
  • Fluoride: This treatment is applied by your dentist to different parts of your teeth to help strengthen your enamel.
  • Root Canal: If decay is present in the root. Your tooth will be cleaned out and packed with a filling. After that, a crown is set on top to protect the tooth from further damage.
  • Surgical Gum Graft: This is used when root exposure is the cause of sensitivity. Soft tissue is taken from another part of your mouth and used to fill in the gaps. Since there are many types of gum recession, your oral surgeon will recommend which solution is best for your health.

With sensitive teeth it is very important to not neglect your dental hygiene; this can cause your condition to get worse as well as running the risk of developing (or worsening) gum disease. Remember to brush twice a day, floss at least once, and come in for your checkup twice a year. If you are experiencing pain due to tooth sensitivity schedule an appointment for yourself right away!

 

Smith Valley Smiles

2311 Highway 208
Smith, NV 89430
Phone: 775-465-2388