TMJ Vs TMD: What Do They Mean?The TMJ—or temporomandibular joint—is the joint connecting your lower jaw (medically referred to as the mandible) to your skull. Because these joints are on either side of your head, their health is essential for performing daily tasks such as smiling, chewing, and even speaking. TMJ disorder—or TMD—is a condition that may be preventing these important joints from functioning properly. The term refers to any issue or condition related to your jaw, facial muscles, or facial nerves. TMD can have a noticeable impact on your quality of life and can cause you to have difficulty chewing, talking, smiling, or even sleeping at night. TMJ disorders are still being widely studied as they can have a variety of different causes and symptoms. Here are the most common symptoms:
- Pre-existing joint disorders such as arthritis.
- Excessive teeth grinding, or bruxism.
- Trauma, especially any affecting the jaw.
- Jaw misalignment.
Say goodbye to TMJ headaches
TMJ Disorder SymptomsIf you’ve ever experienced discomfort, pain, or tenderness in your jaw, then you know how important having good health and harmony in this joint is, especially if these symptoms inhibit your enjoyment of your favorite activities. TMJ disorder has a wide range of symptoms that can cause undue stress, pain, and headaches.
TMD can even create more oral health complications in the future. Scheduling a consultation is highly recommended for patients who are suffering from any of the following:
- Pain that runs along the neck and jaw.
- Frequent migraines or tension headaches.
- Stiffness in the jaw.
- Limited motion of the mandible.
- A locking of the jaw.
- Clicking or popping sounds from your jaw joint.
TMJ Disorder TreatmentIf you experience any of the symptoms of TMD, it’s time to call your dentist. No two TMJ disorder treatments are exactly alike, but each patient can expect a similar series of steps:
- Consultation: Before your first appointment, take note of any of the symptoms you experience that could be related to TMJ disorder. At your consultation appointment, your dentist will carefully listen and discuss any signs and symptoms of discomfort to determine the source of the issue.
- Physical Examination: The dentist will perform a physical exam to look for any noticeable areas of weakness or misalignment. During your exam, you may be asked to open and close your jaw, demonstrate your range of motion, or identify any pain or pressure points.
- Scans and Tests: If necessary, you may undergo additional scans to examine your dental structure. This may include x-rays, MRIs, or CT scans to create detailed images of the bones and muscles of your jaw.
- Treatment Plan: After the cause of your TMJ pain is discovered, the dentist will outline a treatment plan to remedy both short-term symptoms and correct any problems moving forward. You may be given a wearable appliance, daily exercises, or further dental treatment to address your TMD.
How We Treat TMJ DisordersAt Vibrant Dental, we don’t just treat the immediate symptoms of TMJ Disorder, but we approach it with the overall health of the patient in mind. TMJ pain is caused by both lifestyle and structural factors, and our treatments seek to address all aspects of your discomfort to provide extended, long-lasting relief. Our Green Valley and Anthem Village offices in Henderson are dedicated to creating personalized treatment plans for every patient. We seek to correct a patient’s bite and cure the patient of the disorder completely through specialized consultations and treatments:
- Occlusion Evaluation: Using a Myomonitor (an electrical muscle stimulator) to relax the muscles, we can give you a consultation to thoroughly examine your jaw alignment and any other contributing factors of TMD. Then we’ll be able to determine what specific adjustments need to be made.
- Botox®: With proper application, a Botox® injection can relax the normally over-stressed muscles near the TMJ, relieve muscle tension, and reduce any pain caused by TMD.
- Orthotics: We use GNM therapy to create a custom-made orthotic appliance (mouth guard) for you to wear while you sleep. This orthotic will protect you against further joint stress and help us move the joint to restore your jaw to its proper position.
Vibrant Dental Treats TMJ Disorders DifferentlyAt Vibrant Dental, we know how important a healthy smile is to your overall well-being. Because there is a real connection between oral health and a person’s complete health, we treat the root causes of TMD and other symptoms it could be causing throughout the body. We use Gnathic Neuromuscular Dentistry (GNM), which is an advanced level of training to create an orthotic (e.g. a bite splint) to keep the joint in the proper position. This can actually get rid of your TMD—not just alleviate the immediate symptoms! GNM is unique because of its:
- Training Requirements | The skills necessary to practice GMN dentistry require extensive training and education. Education in gnathology principles, which involve not only the anatomy of the entire dental structure but also knowledge of dynamic movements and functions of the jaw as well.
- Focus on Optimized Bite | GNM emphasizes all of the elements of a good, healthy bite, not just the dental structure. From small muscular dysfunctions to nervous system responses, we take a holistic approach to TMD treatment.
- Cutting-Edge Techniques | Unlike other splints and mouth guards, GNM orthotics are the result of careful designing and adjustments made according to gnathological principles. A neuromuscular analysis is essential for GNM orthotics, so it can potentially reduce symptoms indefinitely.
Hear from our patient how we relieved her TMJ pain
Benefits of TMJ TreatmentsThe symptoms of TMJ Disorder are unpleasant. Chronic pain and discomfort often show up when yawning, talking, chewing, or resting. Treatments to address the symptoms of TMD work to reduce this discomfort, but they also result in other health benefits:
- Improved sleep quality.
- Stronger teeth and reduction in dental erosion.
- Improvements in back and neck pain.
- Decreased facial stiffness.
- Fewer headaches or migraines.
- Easier chewing and improved digestion.
Preparing for Your AppointmentTMJ disorder symptoms can be incredibly uncomfortable. As you wait for treatment from your dentist, you can take measures at home to relieve pain and discomfort:
- Adjust your diet by only eating soft, easy-to-chew foods.
- Practice relaxing and unclenching your jaw throughout the day.
- Use massage and facial stretching techniques.
- Take over-the-counter pain relievers to reduce pain and swelling.
- Apply heat or ice packs to the affected side.
- Take deep breaths to relax the jaw and facial muscles.
Vibrant Dental Treats TMJ Pain ProperlyIf you are looking for long-term relief for your TMJ disorder symptoms, our practice can help. The exceptional team at Vibrant Dental has extensive training in dental and mandibular structure and treatment methods to not only ease everyday TMJ symptoms but address the core problem directly, for optimal healing. Our staff has the skills and knowledge to design a treatment plan that corrects the causes of TMD and not only the symptoms. Our TMD treatments go above and beyond to keep the health of your smile and your quality of life in mind at every step of the way.
Call Today for TMJ/TMD ReliefDon’t wait to find relief from TMJ pain. A lifestyle that doesn’t involve painful chewing, frequent tension headaches, or joint pain is possible thanks to the experienced professionals at Vibrant Dental. Schedule your consultation today and discover the dental solutions that will let you live the lifestyle you deserve, free from TMJ pain. Whatever the cause, we’ll do our best to help you reduce TMJ tension, relieve pain, and even cure your TMD in many cases! Come in for a consult, or request a virtual consult, to determine the best treatment for you.
The Vibrant Dental team delivers first-class service each and every time. I can vouch for not only the top-notch dental care throughout my 7 years as a client, but also the warm, welcoming professionalism of all staff members. Dr. Nisson has even called after certain procedures to follow up and ensure that the outcome was satisfactory. In my experience, Vibrant Dental is simply the best, and I will not be going anywhere else for dental care as long as I reside in the Las Vegas area. – Barbara W.