TMJ and TMD are conditions that impact millions of people each year. The condition is quite common. However, this doesn’t make the condition any less painful for those who endure it. Cicero Family Dental Care can help you better understand your TMJ/TMD issues and work with you to develop a treatment strategy.
What Is TMJ/TMD?
TMJ stands for temporomandibular joint. TMD stands for temporomandibular joint disorder. The two terms encompass what is commonly called TMJ, or lockjaw. TMD is just a term that fully covers any issues that can occur around the temporomandibular joint.
The temporomandibular joint connects your jaw to your skull. When inflammation or other problems impacts this joint’s ability to function, it can be quite painful for the individual. Some with TMD problems can experience jaw pain, difficulty chewing, clicking sounds made by the joint, and even lockjaw. Once these symptoms are identified it is important to contact our office as soon as possible to seek treatment plans.
How Is TMJ/TMD Diagnosed And Treated?
Many people with TMJ/TMD will self-diagnose because they feel the discomfort and hear the clicking. While this is fine, to have the most accurate treatment plan, make sure you speak with our team. Our professionals can work with you do determine what is causing your TMJ/TMD and suggest ways to alleviate the symptoms. For example, if your TMD is triggered by nighttime teeth grinding, our team can get you fitted for a mouthguard that will reduce that behavior.
What Causes TMJ/TMD?
Many common actions can cause or trigger bouts of TMJ/TMD in an individual. One of the biggest culprits is teeth grinding and jaw clenching. Prolonged bouts of both can inflame the joint and trigger TMD. Stress is a condition that can trigger a person to teeth grind or clench. Other culprits are jaw injuries, misaligned teeth, arthritis, or even gum chewing.
Can TMJ/TMD Be Cured?
The answer to this would depend on what is triggering a person's TMJ/TMD. If an individual is under a great deal of stress that is causing their teeth grinding or jaw clenching, one could assume that once their stress levels return to normal, the teeth grinding will stop. However, if a person suffers from TMD due to jaw injuries or malformations, the solution isn’t as quick. In severe cases, individuals will need to work with TMJ specialists and may need to fix the issue via surgery.
What Happens If You Leave TMJ Untreated?
Many instances of TMJ will resolve on its own. As mentioned previously, stress-induced TMD will dissipate once the source of the stress is alleviated. However, TMD that is caused by physical conditions such as misaligned teeth or jaw injuries will not go away without treatment. TMD caused by physical issues may continue to get worse over time. The pain can become overwhelming. Individuals in those situations must seek treatment and may need surgery.
TMJ/TMD is a condition that countless people have. The good news is that it responds well to treatment, and in many cases, the issue resolves itself. Cicero Family Dental Care can help you better understand your TMJ/TMD and help you develop a treatment plan. Contact the office today at (680) 688-6026 to learn more and to schedule your consultation.