Your bite can be a factor in many types of pain and functional problems because of the inter-relationships of the overall musculoskeletal system. Through new technology, we can evaluate your bite and determine if it is a major contributing factor to your condition. Dr. Ania will thoroughly discuss treatment options with you, which could include a referral to an orthodontist, otolaryngologist (ear, nose, and throat specialist), oral surgeon, or others.
What is the difference between TMJ and TMD?
TMJ stands for temporomandibular joint and saying that you have “TMJ” is like saying you have KJ (knee joint) or EJ (elbow joint).
While the term TMJ is reflective of the early belief that these disorders largely originated in the joint itself, more recent knowledge has shown that the true cause of joint problems often lies elsewhere. That, combined with the fact that the term TMJ is not really descriptive of a disorder, has led to today’s more common use of the term TMD, which stands for temporomandibular disorder.
While the latter is the most common term in use today, you may also hear these conditions referred to as craniomandibular disorders(CMD), craniofacial pain disorders (CPD), temporomandibular dysfunction, or the still-used catchall term TMJ.
Today it is widely believed that most joint problems are commonly a result of problems elsewhere in the bite.
What is neuromuscular dentistry?
When the harmony of the teeth, muscles, and temporomandibular joint no longer exists, symptoms of what has been identified as TMJ/TMD arises. Neuromuscular dentistry focuses on the dynamic relationships related to the physiologic range of motion and body posture. Physiologic resting position and body posture are often overlooked, yet must be considered as an important part of the whole dental system.
What are the signs & symptoms of TMD?
Damage to these joints as a result of accidents or arthritis can be quite obvious. As other pain conditions of the head and neck began to be associated with this joint, the term TMJ was coined to collectively describe them.
The many signs and symptoms of TMD often lead the patient to a physician prior to seeking dental consultation including:
• Jaw joint pain or noise
• Limited mouth-opening
• Ear congestion
• Clenching or grinding
• Neck pain
• Teeth sensitivity
What TMD treatment options are available?
Treatments in the past frequently focused on the joint itself and often involved invasive procedures directly within the joint or even surgical replacement of the joint. Confronted with these symptoms, the medical profession often treats these conditions with anti-inflammatory drug, pain medication or tranquilizers.
Dentistry is still not in consensus on the causes and treatment of TMD, however the profession does largely agree that the condition should be treated in the most conservative manner (surgery is a last resort) and without drugs whenever possible. Drugs can often mask the symptoms, do not treat the underlying cause, and may have severe side effects.
How can a dentist treat TMD?
With growing technological advances, new means of evaluation TMD patients has given dentists additional information to expand their diagnostic capability. Those using these new techniques feel stronger than ever that the primary problem can often be traced to a poor occlusion (bit) than to the joint itself. Joint problems are frequently related to a misalignment of the teeth (malocclusion), which in turn causes a misaligned joint. Misalignment of joints is often resolved as a result of correcting a malocclusion.
Schedule A TMD Treatment Consultation with Dr. Ania
Contact Dr. Ania today to set up a TMD treatment consultation. She can evaluate your bite to determine if TMD is contributing to your condition and suggest treatment options to fit your needs. Call our Boulder office at 303-443-0998 or request an appointment online to get started.