Can Clicking Jaw Be Considered as A Symptom of TMD?
Dental care should not be mistaken as medical protocols for caring for teeth only. Other aspects of your oral cavity deserve just as much dental care as your teeth. For instance, when was the last time you thought about jaw care? The jawbone is a crucial part of your oral cavity, and if it is problematic, it results in several other dental issues in your oral health.
Understanding the Difference Between TMJ and TMD
More often than not, you will hear people use TMJ and TMD interchangeably. While they may be referring to the same thing, the terms are different. TMJ refers to temporomandibular joint and TMD temporomandibular joint disorder. TMD is the term that should be used to refer to a problematic connective joint in your jawbone caused by various factors. The joint is called TMJ, and the disorder is TMD.
Symptoms to Watch Out for TMD
Your inability to seek dental care is often rooted in your ignorance regarding your dental issues. The more you can identify symptoms of dental problems, the easier it will be to seek treatment. Regarding TMD, the following are some of the common symptoms of the disorder:
- Clicking sounds in your jaw – you may hear strange noises when you move your jaw, say when chewing or speaking.
- Jaw lock – when you experience difficulty closing your mouth after opening it. Some patients’ mouths are stuck in the open mouth position when they laugh loudly or yawn.
- Jaw pain – that is not directly connected to an infection in your mouth. The pain is solely from the jawbone, especially when you chew or bite into hard foods like apples.
- Swollen cheek – can be on both sides or one side, depending on the location of TMD in your jawbone.
- Migraine headaches – since the TMJ connects the jawbone to the skull, TMD may result in persistent headaches.
Common Causes of TMD
There is no single cause of TMD. Patients get this disorder differently, with some of the common causes being:
- Arthritis – some types of arthritis can cause problems with the functionality of your jawbone.
- Broken or injured jaw – dental injuries can damage your jawbone by causing fractures and bruises or resulting in TMD.
- Bruxism – is a condition that occurs due to excessive grinding teeth. It is common among children and teenagers, often happening at night when they sleep.
- Myofascial Pain Syndrome – occurs after repeated overuse of muscles or injuries. The disorder causes pain in some pressure points in your muscles, affecting other parts of your body that are seemingly unrelated to the injury.
- Dental malocclusions – orthodontics is vital in dentistry for realigning the jawbone and straightening teeth. Misaligned jaws can place a lot of pressure on your TMJ, causing a disorder with the connective joint.
Diagnosing TMD and Tips for Treatment
Diagnosis TMD is possible by analyzing the symptoms you have relative to the cause of your disorder. At Julian Center for Comprehensive Dentistry, we encounter many patients who think they have TMD, but their diagnostic results show other dental issues. For instance, going by jaw pain alone is not enough for a TMD specialist in Ellicott City to rule out all other dental problems and determine you have TMD.
Instead, it may take various tests, including face x-rays, to determine whether or not you have a problematic jaw joint. Afterward, your dentist in Ellicott City will start reviewing different treatments, including the following:
- Pain medication – like ibuprofen that helps counter swelling and pain.
- Physical therapy – your dentist may recommend some exercises to promote the proper functionality of your jawbone.
- Orthodontic treatment – you may need to wear braces for a few months to align your jawbone and lift the pressure constantly applied to the connective tissue due to an improper bite.
- Wearing night guards – are mouthpieces created to overcome bruxism when you sleep. It maintains space between your upper and lower teeth to reduce the effects of teeth grinding.
- Cold compressing – is something you can do at home to alleviate pain and counter facial swelling.