Dentistry with a Difference
1507 E Lamar Alexander Pkwy
Maryville, Tennessee 37804
The temporomandibular joint connects the temporal bones in your skull (located in front of your ears) to your jaw. It’s what enables you to move your jaw when you eat, talk, laugh or yawn. Problems with the jaw, and the facial muscles that control it, are called temporomandibular disorders, or TMD. Sometimes, such problems are also referred to as TMJ (for the joint), but TMD is the preferred term.
TMD can cause discomfort, or even severe pain. Sometimes it’s temporary. In other instances, it can last for years. Either or both sides of the face can be affected. Most people who develop TMD do so during the ages of 20-40, and it is more common in women than in men.
The causes of TMD are many and varied. They include:
Symptoms can include:
These symptoms may or may not be accompanied by pain. You may also, however, have headaches, toothaches, neck pain, pain in the upper shoulders, or earaches.
Other problems can cause symptoms like those described above. During a TMD assessment, Dr. Curtiss will examine your joints for tenderness or pain, and listen to the sounds that are made when you move your jaws. He’ll also check your bite, and look for any problems in your facial muscles. Other measures could include full-face x-rays, MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) or CT (computer tomography) to determine whether your TMJ disc is in the correct position.
Depending on the severity of the condition, TMD may be treated in a variety of ways. Bite problems, for instance, can often be corrected using crowns or bridges. If the problem is grinding or clenching at night, you may be fitted with a night guard that fits over your lower and upper teeth so that they’re not touching while you sleep. If you’re grinding while you’re awake, a splint is the preferred solution – it works the same way as a night guard, but you wear it all the time.
If these measures don’t help, other therapies may be considered including:
With the advances in TMD treatment, it no longer has to mean constant discomfort or pain.
If you have symptoms of TMD, call Curtiss Dentistry at 865-984-3211. We’ll schedule an evaluation and work with you to determine the most effective course of treatment.